Archive for November, 2010

3 Top Local SEO Tips

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

Top Ten Competitors Research

The foundation of a successful local search engine optimization campaign begins with researching your top local competitors. Taking note of data such as page titles, content headers, site descriptions and keywords used to name a few, can give you great insight and a jump start on which direction to point your campaign. Browse their blogs and forums to see who is linking to them and which conversation starters got the most feedback from visitors.

Take a second look at the site layout, does it flow from a marketing perspective? Are the contact details readily available? How about a visible phone number? Take all into consideration when researching your competitors and compare your lists to map your foundation.

Keyword Research

Working in conjuction with your top ten local competitors research will be your keyword research. Now its time to find where these clients are coming from. Using online tools such as Wordtracker, Wordpot and the Google keyword tool can give you great insight to who is typing what search term the most to find your category.

Using these terms to determine how you will organize your site layout, page titles and content headers can give you an enormous advantage over others less savy. There are several SEO tools available on the net to help you perform these simple tasks and while some vary greatly aesthetically; in the end, they all spit the same information. Just be sure to stick to the most popular!

Content Management

Optimized content management holds great value in organic search engine optimization search results. Adding fresh relevant content on a regular basis (often referred to as “Spider Food”) keeps the search bots happy and more & more search moguls like Google give rich rewards to web sites that create fresh original content.

Research is key in content development & content development is a large piece of the organic pie and local search engine management plan

Twitter Analytics to give users insight into the world of tweets

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

One thing I am keeping an eye on for my clients is Twitter and its efforts to allow users to perform the same sort of internal analytics that Google does. Local SEM planners need to watch Twitter and follow the social media microgiant as it tweaks this new program.

Twitter is now starting to beta test its official analytics product with a select group of users. This comes five months after their acquisition of Trendly – an analytics dashboard for Twitter. No date has been announced as to when this feature will be launched to all Twitter users (stay tuned), although I’m anticipating to see it in early 2011.

Here’s what the free version of Twitter Analytics offers today.

Timeline Activity Dashboard

We can see from the screenshot below that Twitter Analytics will track: Mentions; Retweets; Replies; Follows and Unfollows; and Favorites. It will also graph some of this data in a bar chart in 6-hour increments.

Twitter Analytics - Timeline Activity

Promoted Tweets Dashboard

Given this dedicated section, it appears that a big motivation behind Twitter Analytics, is to help advertisers gauge what they’re getting from advertising through Twitter.

In this dashboard you can see the number of Impressions, Clicks, Retweets, and Replies over a selected date range. You have the option to graph by 6-hour increments, by day, and by week.

Twitter Analytics - Promoted Tweets

What This Means

  • Many third-party Twitter applications that focus on tracking Twitter metrics will soon become obsolete.
  • Twitter is becoming more “business-friendly”. This is especially true if we see Google Analytics integration from Twitter, which is a possibility given that Trendly worked with GA.
  • Average Twitter users may start to become obsessed with being more “influential”. :)

The microblogging site’s newest tool is expected to allow users to view information about their accounts, such as the most successful tweets, the most influential followers, and which tweets caused people to unfollow them, the article said. In addition, users will be able to filter tweets by category using the tool, which is expected to be free, according to the report.

Several third-party companies, such as Twittalyzer, Tweetstats, and TweetEffect, offer analytics and trending services.

In June, Twitter acquired Smallthought Systems, a website analytics team. The Smallthought staff joined Twitter’s analytics team, and worked on integrating Smallthought’s Trendly technology into the site’s current tools.

In related news, Twitter partnered with social data provider Gnip to offer up to half of the Twitter firehose of tweets for sale. However, businesses buying these tweets are unable to display or resell them. Rather, the tweets are solely for analysis, according to Twitter and Gnip.

“There’s enormous corporate demand for better monitoring and analytics tools, which help companies listen to their customers on Twitter and understand conversations about their brands and products,” said Jud Valeski, CEO of Gnip. “This partnership opens the door to developers who want to use Twitter streams to create monitoring and analytics tools for the non-display market.”

In its first wave of offerings, the partnership provides Twitter Halfhose, a volume-based feed of half the full firehose; Twitter Mentionhose, a coverage-based feed that provides a real-time stream of all tweets — including replies and retweets — that mention a user; and Twitter Decahose, a volume-based product of 10% of the full firehose.

Local SEM guides will be watching this closely as Twitter is a contributing factor to most SEM plans in the near future.

Search engine optimization: not inventing the wheel but rolling it

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Local search engine optimization is not a huge mystery but it does take some time and energy. If you are already familiar with SEO you don’t need to unlearn everything you have learned, but just to add new knowledge to your online strategies.

If you are aiming to get a high ranking in local Google searches you have to be aware of the criteria Goggle use to rank your website. One thing you can obviously take into consideration is distance. However, the power of the internet makes sure the competition is healthy. This means that a store that’s only a few miles from your store and is nearer to a major city doesn’t mean that it will be ranking higher than you. The only way this has any of affect at all is when your store is at a large distance, over 20 miles. In that case, the distance becomes a factor but otherwise it will be local search engine optimization that determines your rank.

The crucial aspects such as on page and off page SEO will still play a major role in the ranking of your website. If your locally targeted website contains content that’s SEO optimized with the right keyword density, then it will definitely be ranking higher than the others.

As with any regular search engine optimization, when you use the right keywords on your site, your rankings will dramatically improve in Google’s local searches. Just make sure your address appears at various places on your website, so that it can be crawled. Also have your city name inserted in important places such as the headings and of course, the title tags. When you do this, the chances of your site coming up when someone searches using your local keywords get strong.

If you’ve tried Google SEO for a while now, you know how much value Google gives to anchor text, so it’s important to have your related local keywords in your anchor text when linking to any external site that’s relevant (Example: SEO Pro Asheville). Keep in mind that Google gives high emphasis to the position of the text appearing on the page. If all your targeted keywords are brought together and aren’t spaced out, it may affect your local ranking.

You also have to keep in mind what kind of rating your business has in the real world. For instance, if you own a 5 star hotel, it will automatically be ranked higher than a 3 star hotel. That’s how Google works. All those sites that have a good reputation and a well-known business are going to get a higher rank in Google local searches.

Apart from this, manually adding your site to Google by going to their site is a good idea. This can give you a faster ranking. Remember, the longer your business stays on their listing, the higher it will be ranked. Businesses that aren’t long term and don’t stay around for long don’t get to rank well.

Google Previews tweaks search engine marketing again

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

Last week Google launched its newest innovation on their search engine page: Instant Previews. The idea of a search engine website preview has been around for a while and with this launch, all Google Instant users will be able to view previews of search results pages without a plugin. This gives search engine marketing strategists call to look at their clients’ webpages and check for optimization, especially for companies using Flash websites

Google Instant Previews allows users to see Google’s cached version of a website without leaving the search results page. The look and feel of a webpage is more important than ever at enticing users to click. When a user clicks on the magnifying glass icon  next to a search result, an overlay will appear with preview of the page.  Once the magnifying glass is clicked, the user can hover over the other search results to scroll between previews.

So how will Instant Previews impact businesses?

Instant Previews will increase the importance of web design and usability and should decrease the number of clicks going to lower quality sites, doorway pages and sites praying on misspellings. As a company that optimizes both HTML and Flash websites, we believe Instant Previews has raised the importance of optimizing Flash websites yet again. Here is an example of Google Instant Preview:

I continue to stress to my clients in interactive marketing the importance of focusing on SEO in combination with page design and usability in order to create clean, useful and appealing sites that rank high in search engines and entice users to click. According to Google, people using Instant Previews are 5% more likely to be satisfied with the results on which they clicked.

The concept of previewing websites is far from new, but when the world’s largest search engine decides to add a visual representation of a page to the search results page, businesses must stay ahead of the curve. Google continues to lead the way in search engine innovation. From the June Caffeine update to the introduction of Google Instant in September to last weeks’ newest addition of Instant Previews, Google has made 2010 a remarkable year in search engine marketing.

Using Google Places to rank in local searches

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Google Places is by far the strongest free marketing tool out there for local businesses. Originally introduced in March 2004 as Google Local, it displays local business info at the top of Goggle’s organic search returns accompanied by a map. Most searches turn out 7 businesses, which means ranking in the top 7 of Goggle Places can be a huge lift to a local company.

Breaking into the top 7 of Goggle Places takes expert knowledge and time and staying there takes continued effort. It begins with claiming and optimizing your Google Places local business listing. Once done you can examine your ranking and then decide if you want to bring a local SEO expert in to make sure you are up in the top 7 returned results.

Check out the screen shot below to see the way Google Places displays its 7 results, and also the position of sponsored ads.

To begin the process visit Google and search for Google Places. Register for an account. Follow the bouncing ball until you can click on the button that says “Add a Business”. The first page of the submission form is mostly fill in the blank, but there are several important opportunities to optimize the listing.

Business Name

You must choose your business name wisely. While no one audits the listings to verify that the company name matches your incorporation documents, you must still be wary. If your company’s legal name is “Joe’s Computer Repair” you need to tweak it for the purposes of Google Places optimization. One easy way to do this is to add a keyword descriptor or your primary city. For example: “Joe’s Quick Computer Repair” or “Joe’s Computer Repair of Miami”.

Goggle Places Description

Carefully craft a 200 character description of your business focusing almost exclusively on your key products and services. Don’t waste space here for marketing speak such as “Proudly serving the Miami area since 1976”. Also, do not waste space here by including geographic references. The geography is almost entirely controlled by the city you list for your address. Inclusion of additional cities does virtually nothing when it comes to optimizing your Google Places listing.

For our hypothetical painting company, “Joe’s Computer Repair”, an optimized description would go something like:

Computer repair shop specializing in PC repair and speed enhancement for PCs. Services include hard drive repair and backup, data recovery, speed optimization and general computer repairs.

It is important to remember that the description is designed to reach a broader search audience – not win awards on Madison Avenue. Keep it simple and include your top keywords. 200 characters is not a lot of room, so make sure not to waste space.


Google Places requires the use of at least one standard category. Begin by typing your top keywords and choose the most relevant category. Google Places provides the ability to include 5 categories. Use them. If your top keywords are not standard categories, then use one or two closely related standard categories and use the remaining three slots for specific keywords.

For our hypothetical company, the categories might look something like:

Computer (Standard)
Computer Repair (Top keyword search / Custom Category)
PC Repair (Top keyword search / Custom Category)
Data Recovery (Top keyword search / Custom Category)
PC Shop (Standard, but an extremely popular related search term)

Service Areas and Location Settings

The Service Areas and Location Settings options are designed to allow a business to establish a service area if the company does not have a storefront of some sort. If in doubt, complete the option accurately for your business.

Business hours and payment options are purely optional and serve little if any value to the optimization process. Potential customers certainly will find the information useful.

Google Places provides the ability to add up to 10 photos and 5 videos (from Make sure you always use keywords to name your photos and take advantage of the “tag” functions provided by The impact on Google Places traffic is limited, but any impact is good.

Additional Details

To optimize your listing, create a table of your key products and services using as many keywords as possible. Each detail consists of two fields with a maximum space of 200 characters each. Include as many additional details about your company, your products and your services as possible.

The new Google Places local business listing will not be active until verified. Usually, verification can be completed by triggering a phone call from Google’s computers to the phone number of record for the listing.

Sponsored Ads?

Once verified you will be included in Goggle Places. If you find you are not listing among the top 7 in Google Places you should think about bringing in a local SEO expert to fine tune and continuously monitor your Google Places status. That is likely a better option for you than paying Google for ad sponsorship and placement, as an actual SEO expert working for you not only will have you ranking in the top 7 but will otherwise optimize your information and site so that you rank effectively and keep customers on your listing.

Yahoo Interview on Local SEO Marketing

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Here’s an interview I did with Yahoo about the importance of a fully realized SEO campaign:

Local SEO Expert Talks About Search Engine Marketing

How does a local SEO expert help YOUR business?

Monday, November 8th, 2010

What is local SEO and how can it help your business flourish?

Well, do you find yourself a local business with a nice website that just isn’t bringing in customers like you had anticipated? If so this article, and local SEO, are for you.

Perhaps you’ve heard about local search engine optimization but don’t know precisely what is and how it can help your business flourish through being quickly discovered by customers in your own local area and surrounding communities who are already looking to purchase your product.

Creating a smartly designed website is the only the first step in increasing your profile and your profits if you are a local business. The crucial step two in the process is smart, local website promotion. If you have a great-looking website but only a few people are looking at it then the efforts at creation and design are wasted. Instead, a proper promotion method convinces many eyes to be instantly trained on your website seeking what they are already looking for. That is the key to “optimizing” cyberspace and the idea behind local SEO.

An ideally realized website uses search engine optimization to tell search engines like Google and Yahoo exactly what your business is all about and to reach out to local customers searching for this information. That way when local customers sit down and begin searching your business comes up first on the pages of the product they are looking for.

Search engine optimization contains several strategies that can get you higher search engine rank when someone uses Goggle or Yahoo to find services in your local area and beyond. Your goal is to be visible on page one of the search results and as high up on the page as you can be. You can try implementing some of the available optimization strategies yourself, and a perhaps undertake it successfully. However, there are also tricks to the trade that only professionally trained and experienced people can provide.

After you have established a smart web site for the enterprise (or even if you currently have one) the task is to get it found, and once found, returned to by your top customers and the local prospective clients in your area.

Precisely what is SEO for a local company?

Getting seen in a world wide web search depends on where you are ranked. If you are using the correct tactics for search engine positioning like key term in most page of your webpage, and search engine optimization key term in your paid-for on-line ads, your website will begin to boost in the rankings. Determining what the key phrases are and where to use them is the solution to your ultimate success.

What can a SEO advertising firm actually do for you? An experienced local SEO provider will be able to:

Assist you in building links to your website and website optimization in ways you may have never thought about.

Submit online articles daily related to your products or services to major magazines to build your audience/client base.

Get you noticed in blogs and forums – like commencing the buzz about you and your goods and services.

Submit on-line press releases to announce corporation news and firm activities.

Make sure your organization is present and noticed on social network sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Create e-mail internet marketing search engine optimization campaigns and distribute them on a timely basis.

Local SEO is an ongoing, dynamic variety of marketing techniques that demand close awareness for updates, revisions and new ads. SEO can be a Do-It-Yourself project, but a dedicated local SEO campaign takes a local SEO expert.

The main function a local SEO expert is to prepare a program that is certainly exclusively developed to cater your business needs and make you instantly visible to customers already prepared to buy your products. A local SEO expert fully grasps the goals of your business and your target audience when they create your search engine optimization campaign.

Targeting customers with local SEO

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

Using local SEO you can target your website to countries or territories, or to specific regions and cities. When someone enters your keyword on a search box, the search system uses several factors to determine whether to show your website:

Search engines analyze the actual search query the user submits. If someone enters a search query that contains a recognizable city or region, search engines will show related regionally targeted websites. For example, if someone searches for Asheville Dentist, search engines may only show websites targeted to Asheville, regardless of the user’s physical location.

When possible, search engines determine the user’s physical region based upon the Internet Protocol (IP) address. This also applies to regionally targeted websites. For example, if someone searches for Dentist, and the computer performing the search is located in Asheville, search engines will only show websites targeted to Asheville even though the location was not specified.

Look at this screen shot and you’ll see what I mean:

Unlike country-specific search engine domains (such as, search engines consider a user’s IP address for ads that show on For example, if a user with an Australian IP address visits, Google will display ads targeted to Australia, even though the user isn’t accessing

Local SEO practices are conductive to generating huge gains in local, targeted traffic. Instead of getting random, useless traffic you have targeted customers waiting to buy coming straight to your site.

Avoiding local SEO mistakes

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Local SEO work is always a flowing dynamic art, full of maintenance and upkeep. It’s necessary to stay on top of the game and it’s also important not to make key SEO mistakes.

Search engines use algorithms to determine search engine ranking, with Google recently changing its algorithm. Google’s change just shows that you have to constantly be up-to-date with search-engine changes.

Avoid the following local SEO mistakes at all costs:

Redesign that doesn’t work

The first thing you need to think of when planning to redesign your company site is if the redesign will work to your advantage in search visibility. You have to factor in page layout, content and keyword usage, navigation, links and redirects in the grand equation that is local SEO.

A Content Management System without a Migration Plan

You must have a migration plan if you’re installing a CMS. A change in your content management system means a change in the templates that format Web pages, navigation, and often the URL structure of pages.

Letting inbound links drop

Stay updated with your inbound links, and think of new ways to prevent inbound link loss. You prevent or minimize link loss through constant content creation, promotion, and social participation.


Do not use duplicate content. For example, if you are promoting a press release, RSS feed, or an article then make sure you have the original on your site first, then you can link any duplicates back to your site.

The one thing you can do you prevent your site from dropping in search-engine ranking is have a local SEO expert stay active and updated with your site. Site maintenance and innovation are the keys in local SEO when trying to reach the top.

Finding the power in local SEO

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

Everything you have heard about the power of local SEO is true. It works here in Asheville the same way as it does everywhere.

About 85% of your potential clients will search on the Internet for what you are offering.

They will either find you or your competition. It’s up to you.

Chances are, you did not just run into this website by accident. It’s likely that you found us by running a search in Google, Yahoo or Bing. You may have searched for a custom web design firm or an Internet Marketing firm that specializes in building your online exposure.

As you can see, we didn’t simply leave it to chance that prospective clients would somehow stumble across our website. Instead, we’ve worked extremely hard at testing and developing solutions that effectively influence search engine rank and bring prospective clients (like you) to our site.

Local SEO can include some simple tricks, but adding dedicated local SEO to your business site takes a professional who can utilize a comprehensive local SEO plan.

Within the last few years the search engines have been providing improved local search features. The largest search engine, Google, has in fact been embedding these “Maps” inside their search pages as part of their Universal Search results. This has opened new opportunities for local businesses and requires different techniques, from original “organic” SEO, to get exposure they couldn’t have before.

Look at the following screen shot to see how Google now favors local posts:

When the Internet hit its first big boom most users were thinking globally. They were excited about the prospect of finding far flung customers for their products and services all over the world. The reality is that this concept simply doesn’t work for most businesses. However many potential customers, local to your business, sit down at their computers with their wallets out. They are looking for the nearest business that will suit their needs. In most instances, they will conduct a localized search and not a global one.

Local SEO experts simply aim to get your name, website and business in front of the people that are most likely to use it – those that are physically located near it. Think of it as the local section of your yellow pages. At the end of the day, local SEO means that if your hardware store is located in Asheville, NC potential customers will find your shop by searching locally.

Don’t forget that people are trying to find you, you are not trying to find them. Utilizing local SEO techniques will make it much easier for potential customers to find your local business. Having a traditional SEO campaign is fine, but if you are looking to increase traffic with local prospects, a local SEO campaign is a necessity.

There are specific tactics and techniques that can and should be used to ensure that your SEO is targeted to a local audience. If you want this kind of powerful local SEO to work for you contact us at SEO Pro Asheville and find out how.