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Local SEO Strategies That Can Attract Customers To Your Business

online marketing for small businessThe internet and online social media attract an audience too big for businesses to ignore. Regardless of what you sell, your company’s size or location, the potential for online marketing is growing every year and business owners that take advantage of it are rewarded for their efforts.

According to marketing research, an increasing number of consumers go online when they are looking for local businesses in their area or want to learn more about the products available near their homes. Therefore, having a strong internet presence is essential for a successful business strategy.

Using a mix of online social media websites and localized search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, any business owner can raise the profile of their enterprise and attract more customers. Here are a few easy tips on how to boost your business’s search engine results:

Localize Your Keywords and SEO Marketing Strategies

It sounds simple, but many forget to do it. Where is your business located? The name of the town, state or region where do business should be a prominent on your company’s web site and not just on the front page, but in subtexts, titles, keywords, tags and other SEO tools.

Data on your website analytics tells you that you have lots of customers searching for you from a particular city or region, you should include that area by name in your keywords. If you find that visitors are hitting your website with a search term paired with a city or state name, optimize your online content for that particular city/state name.

An easy way to increase your visibility in specific areas is to simply include city and state names with the keywords you’re optimizing. Search engines will recognize your keywords and link them with the regions you’re targeting, so when someone within your area searches for your services, your business is more likely to rank higher due to that association with both service and regional relevance.

Join Google+ Local

Google is God in the digital world and will shine light on your business if you do as it pleases. Not only is Google the most widely-used search platform on the internet, but it provides a number of free, simple features you can use to promote your business directly to search engine users that are actively looking for your products and services.

With a little effort, you can boost your small business’s visibility on the internet by providing Google with some basic information about your business. The more you provide, the easier it will be for customers to find you through Google search.

When you complete a profile on Google’s “Places for Business”, your company will be easy to find on Google Maps, Google Shopping, Google+ Local, and many other Google Search products.

Take Advantage of Customer Review Sites

Sometimes, online customer reviews can make or break a business. Internet date reveals 72 percent of consumers find online reviews are as trustworthy as personal recommendations, and 52 percent said positive online reviews about a local business increase the likelihood they will visit the business.

The answer is clear: online reviews are becoming more popular, and more consumers are referring directly to the Internet to seek out local businesses. Therefore, any smart business will make these customer reviews work for their business. That doesn’t mean you should spam fake reviews of your own business all across the Internet, and it doesn’t mean you should use these review sites to slam your competition—those are bad practices that can get you blacklisted on Google Places and can destroy your good name as a reputable business in no time.

Instead, encourage your customers to leave positive reviews online. You can’t force customers to really do anything, but if just a handful of them leave positive reviews on the Internet about your business, those will become valuable testimonials that will encourage more potential customers to pay your business a visit.

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How to Make a Blog Post in WordPress Part 3: The Keywords Phenomenon

With WordPress blogs embedded in a client’s website (if the URL of your blog is www.yourcompanywebsite.com/blog, then your blog is embedded), our internet marketing agency has noticed an interesting phenomenon involving SEO keywords.  Certain keyword practices can – however infrequently – negatively affect your SEO campaign.

When you target specific keywords, each of those keywords will be associated with a URL on your website.  It’s important to use a variety of URLs so that not all of your keywords lead back to one page.  Each page targeted with a keyword will then be optimized for that keyword – your internet marketing agency will make changes to the content, titles, meta tags and images to make it more readable in Google.  This page is the only one that should have optimizations for keyword X so that Google doesn’t get confused.

But what happens when you make a blog post optimized for keyword X?  If your blog is embedded into your site, you’ve just created another page on the website optimized for the same keyword – and now the two pages might “fight” for the higher spot in Google.  It can be counteractive to your campaign to include the keywords being targeted in the title or post tags of the blog post.  Instead, focus on writing an engaging title phrased as a question or a top ten list.  Think about subjects that may actually be searched in Google.  For post tags, add general subjects that also might come up in Google.

It’s important to note that this applies ONLY to embedded WordPress blogs.  If your blog has a separate domain (www.companyblog.com rather than www.yourcompanywebsite.com/blog), then the posts are read differently in Google.  Keep making SEO-friendly titles and adding the keywords as the post tags.

Read parts 1 and 2:
How to Make a Blog Post in WordPress:  A Step-by-Step SEO Tutorial
How to Make a Blog Post in WordPress Part 2:  Two More Tips and Tricks

How to Make a Blog Post in WordPress: A Step-by-Step SEO Tutorial

If your internet marketing agency is setting up a WordPress blog for your website, you’ve no doubt heard about the SEO benefits of regular blogging.  Posting one to two times per week on a blog embedded into your company’s site – such as a WordPress blog – helps place fresh content regularly and keeps Google crawling your pages.  Posting to your new blog is simple, and there are a number of tricks to maximize SEO benefit.

  1. Log in with your name and password at the login screen.
  2. Look at the left-hand column and click on “Posts,” then “Add New.”
  3. Enter your title in the bar labeled “Enter title here.”  Focus on constructing an engaging title formatted as a question or something people might actually search for in Google.
  4. Enter your post into the “body” field.  If you had previously typed the post as a Word document, it’s advisable to copy and paste it into Notepad to remove excess code.
  5. Add links.  Highlight the keyword and click the icon that looks like a chain link above the body field.  This will open a small window – enter the URL that corresponds to the keyword and select “Open in New Window.”  Type the keyword into the “Title” field and click “OK.”
  6. Select categories.  On the right side of the screen, select categories that match the topic of your post.  If there are no suitable categories, use the “+Add New Category” button to create one.
  7. Add post tags.  Add each of your keywords as a post tag.
  8. Click “Publish.”  A link will appear above the title to view the post once it’s live, and you can make edits if you see anything you want to change.

How to Work Your HTML Anchor Text Links for Better SEO

Anchor text links are the key to SEO blogging, webpage optimization and article writing – and there are a number of HTML tricks that you can use to manipulate your links and achieve Anchorexactly the result you want.  You can make your web pages as visible (or invisible) in the search engines as you like.

The basic code for an anchor text link in HTML is

<a href=’http://www.newwavemktg.com’>Internet Marketing Agency</a>

This produces a link that looks like this: Internet Marketing Agency.  There are a number of extra pieces of code that you can insert within the HTML line of code to slightly alter the functioning of the link while preserving its appearance.

  • Title Tag:  <a href=’http://www.newwavemktg.com’ title=’Internet Marketing Agency’>Click Here</a>.  This tag allows you to use whatever text you want for the link while including some SEO benefit for your keywords.
  • Target Tags:  These four tags tell the link how it should open the new page.
    target=”_blank”   Opens the new page in a new browser window
    target=”_self”   Loads the new page in the current window
    target=”_parent”   Loads new page into a frame that is superior to where the link lies
    target=”_top”   Loads new page into the current browser window, cancelling all frames
  • nofollow:  el=”nofollow”
    This tag prevents search engines from following your link – a link with this tag will not have SEO benefit.  It was designed as a way to prevent comment spam in blogs.  Watch out for this link while you’re posting; if you see that your posts on external sites are being tagged with nofollow, it’s probably not a valuable site to use for SEO.

Top 3 SEO New Year’s Resolutions

Google has made a lot of changes to its algorithm over the past year, and it’s important to keep your SEO practices updated for the New Year.  Hopefully, you’ve already been implementing Fireworksminor changes and getting used to the new Google Analytics – and making these three resolutions will help keep you on top in 2012.

1. No more low-quality links.  Stop relying on purchased links or link trades for low-quality, irrelevant sites.  These links won’t offer your page any considerable SEO benefit, and if you’re linking to bad websites it could hurt your campaign.  Invest in quality content, blogging, article writing and quality external blogs to post content on when you’re placing backlinks.

2. Update your blog twice a week.  We see an abundance of our clients’ blogs that are updated once a month – and sometimes only a few times a year!  Google will crawl your blog (and your site) more often if you give it new content to crawl.  It’s crucial to post one to two times per week to keep the search engine bots on your site.

3. Use quality content.  Invest in high-quality content for your website and blog.  A professional SEO content writer from your internet marketing agency can do all of your writing for you with an eye for what the search engines are looking for.  Your content will be optimized, well-written and you’ll save a lot of time by not having to write everything yourself.  You can even hire a writing team to manage your blog for you.

Combating Comment Spam in Your Blog – Part 1

If your website features a blog, you’ve no doubt seen an abundance of spam in the form of comments on your posts.  Competing marketing agencies are constantly trying to find tactics to Blog Commentspost links to their websites, and they may try to take advantage of your blog.  Simple steps can help you understand how spamming works and how to avoid it.

Why Use Comments?
Taking advantage of the “Comments” section of your company’s blog is about posting backlinks, or links that lead back to the website being marketed.  Google uses backlinks to determine how high a website ranks when users search certain keyword phrases, such as “arborist Seattle” or “cardiac surgery Miami.”  Low-quality campaigns focus solely on placing links anywhere possible, including the comments sections of random blogs.

Spam comments are notorious for appearing as if they were written using Google Translator, and you may find the wording and subjects of comments to be an amusing break while working in your blog.  Spammers often try to include a URL or hyperlink to their client’s website while writing a comment about the loading time of your blog or a general remark about the helpfulness of the post.  Here are some sample spam posts from our blog:

“Wow, wonderful weblog structure! How lengthy have you ever been blogging for? you made blogging glance easy. The overall glance of your site is wonderful, as smartly the content material!”

“Graphics are in fact fastidious source of teaching instead of content, its my know-how, what would you say?”

“I relish, lead to I found exactly what I was taking a look for. You’ve ended my four day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye”

“people are stupid”

A quality internet marketing agency will never place backlinks this way.

Link Wheeling Part II: How to Build a Link Wheel

Building a link wheel – such as the one featured in this diagram – can help improve the efficiency of your SEO article writing and boost your campaign’s rankings significantly.

How to Construct a Link WheelLink Wheel

  1. Choose a hub.  Most link wheels use the company’s official website as the center of the wheel.  It’s also possible to use a webpage with a high PageRank featuring links back to your company’s website as the hub, such as a press release website.  It’s not advisable to use a news article, however, as these pages are sometimes deleted over time.  Your internet marketing agency may have some great ideas about pages to use as a hub.
  2. Post an article on a blog or article website that you moderate.  Place a keyword link leading back to the hub in the article – let’s call it “Article A.”
  3. Post Article B on a different blog or website.  Article B must contain two links: one keyword link going back to the hub plus a link to Article A.  This one doesn’t need to be on a site moderated by the wheelmaster.
  4. Post Article C on a third site.  Article C will link to the hub and Article B.
  5. Post Article D on one more blog or website.  Article D should link to Article C (plus keyword links to the hub).
  6. Close the wheel by editing Article A.  It already links to the hub, but we’ll need to place a link to Article D.  This makes the wheel complete.

Read Link Wheeling Part I: Why the Link Wheel Strategy is Great for SEO.

Link Wheeling Part I: Why the Link Wheel Strategy is Great for SEO

One of the central foci of an SEO campaign is writing and blogging, but there are a number of tricks to make your online content even more effective.  Building link wheels can improve the value of your work in Google and make SEO article writing more efficient than ever.internet marketing agency

What is a Link Wheel?
A link wheel is a circle of articles interconnected by links.  Each article (a “spoke” in the wheel) links to the next article in the wheel, and each of the articles also contains keywords that link back to your website (the “hub” of the wheel).

Link wheels work because of two methods by which Google determines its rankings.

  1. Backlinks.  Google bases website value largely on how many links there are pointing to that website.
  2. “Link Juice.”  Link value can be passed on in a chain through websites that link back to your site.  For example: if your internet marketing agency writes a press release about Company X that links back to Company X’s website, and then you post an article that links to the press release, the value of the links in your article will be passed down to Company X’s website.

How PageRank Determines Your Website’s Google Rankings

Google uses a number of methods to determine which websites rank on the first page of results for a given keyword and which sites get pushed to the back.  PageRank is likely the most important of these factors: it’s the basis of all of Google’s web searches.

PageRank

An SEO toolbar showing a PageRank of 7.

What is PageRank?
PageRank is a complex algorithm that ranks the importance of a website based largely on the number of links around the web leading to it.  The idea is that the more important and valuable a website is, the more people will link to it as a reference on their own websites – thus, the amount of links pointing to the site is a good way to judge its relevance.  The algorithm was invented by Larry Page, one of the co-founders of Google, and introduced in 1998.  Google owns the patent on PageRank and has used it as the base method of ranking websites since then.

How does PageRank work?
Though PageRank aims to rank websites by the number of links going back to them, the algorithm is actually a probability distribution – a formula used to represent a person’s likelihood of ending up on a particular website.  It assumes that users are more likely to reach a certain web page if there are more links going back to it placed around the internet.

Probability is displayed mathematically as a decimal between 0 and 1, so PageRank is expressed the same way.  A website with a PageRank of .7 that has been optimized for the keyword “internet marketing agency” will rank higher in Google than a site featuring the same keyword that has a PageRank of only 0.4.  Some SEO toolbars, like SEO Quake or the Google toolbar, display PageRank as a whole number between 1 and 10.  These toolbars are often using PageRank values that are out-of-date and may not reflect the current value.

The best way to improve your website’s PageRank is to place more links to it around the internet.  An internet marketing agency can help design an SEO campaign for your budget that will focus on writing relevant content and placing it on important websites to boost your website’s ranks.  The higher the PageRank of the website you place a link on, the more value that link will have in boosting your website’s PageRank.

Strategy Matters: Link-Building for Google SEO Success

Changes to Google’s algorithm over the past year mean that link-building isn’t just about quantity anymore – it’s about quality, too.  Many SEO strategists have had to change their methods to adapt.

What is Link-Building?
In forming rankings (and deciding who gets the top spots), Google places a lot of emphasis on the number of links leading back to a Backlinkswebsite.  These links, called backlinks, have a lot of influence in moving a website further up in Google’s rankings.  Link-building is one of the pillars of an SEO campaign: by placing new backlinks around the internet that lead back to the client’s website, an internet marketing agency can bring a site from “unranked” status on a given keyword to the number-one spot.

Different Strategies
Links can be built in one of two formats:

  1. As a URL, such as http://www.newwavemktg.com/blog
  2. As an anchor text link, such as internet marketing blog

While a URL definitely has value in search engine rankings, an anchor text link is even more valuable.  By using keywords relevant to the client’s campaign (like “internet marketing blog”) and linking that keyword with the same URL each time, SEO wizards can encourage Google to associate that website with that keyword.  So when someone searches “internet marketing blog” in Google, our blog is more likely to come up.

The other strategy associated with link-building involves the websites on which backlinks are placed.  Old link-building techniques frequently revolved around link-trading, where two website admins would agree to place links to each other’s sites.  This required many hours of emailing and responding.  Often, links would be placed on completely irrelevant sites – for example, the admin of a car rental service directory would place a link to a dermatology clinic.  Many sites used to build links this way just appear “spammy,” both to humans and to Google.

How Link-Building Has Changed
To combat this link spam, Google changed its algorithm over the past year to discredit websites that crowd a page with too many links or accept link-stuffed articles.  It’s also now giving considerably less credit to links placed on sites that are irrelevant to the client’s website – so a link on a dermatology blog will offer more “link juice” than that car rental directory.  It’s also placing more emphasis on content, meaning that articles and blog posts need to come with those links.  This means that today’s SEO experts need a more targeted set of skills, namely writing.

Articles should contain no more than one link for every 110 words, and they can be placed on relevant blogs, news websites, and article resources with a high page rank (note, however, that Google has also been cracking down on “content farm” websites loaded with spam articles for the sole purpose of placing links).  Google’s algorithm continues to evolve and become more sophisticated, and SEO campaign managers keep changing their strategy to adapt and keep their clients’ sites at the top.