TopRank Marketing Editor

10 Easy Local SEO & Online Marketing Tips

TopRank Marketing Editor     Google, Local SEO, Microsoft Bing, Online Marketing, SEO, Small Business, Yahoo

Google Places Pin There are currently 29.6 million small businesses in the U.S. (SCORE). 63% of consumers and small business owners use the Internet to find information about local companies and 82% use search engines (Webvisible & Nielsen).  That means there’s a lot of opportunity for local SEO.

Recently I attended GetListed.org’s Local University in Minneapolis which focused on how to optimize web sites for local search.  Out of all the good information that came out of the event, here are 10 easy things you can do today to optimize sites and content to attract local customers.

1. Claim your profile.
It’s as simple as logging into Google Places, Bing Local and Yahoo Local and walking through the verification steps which include a phone call or post card to verify your address.

Lee Odden

Google is Skynet. Search Suggest Opinions

To know what the world is searching for must be amazing. Search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing are in that position but they’re not exactly sharing those insights. Well, except if you do a little guess work and leverage their keyword research or keyword suggest tools. For example, the suggest-as-you-type features that all the major search engines now offer can provide some interesting insight “on the fly” into what people are searching for.

For quick keyword research, Aaron Wall has a Google Suggest tool for keyword suggestions that adds more options and insight.

There’s some entertainment value to this as well. Start typing in “my girlfriend” or “my boyfriend” and you’ll see what I mean. Along those lines, let’s see some examples for each major search engine using the syntax, “Google is “:

Lee Odden

New Google Design & Not Entirely Unlike Jeremiah Owyang

Lee Odden     Google, Online Marketing

No this is not linkbait using Jeremiah’s name. Read on to find out what this “not entirely unlike” business from Google is all about and what it has to do with him.

A while back I wrote about the new design Google is testing (which I like a lot) that adds a third column to search results along the left side.  It’s come and gone a few times since then as I move about the country and as Google reveals it for testing.

As of this morning, Google is delivering the new design to me again and I noticed something different after doing a search on my name. (Admit it, you Google your own name too!) At the bottom of the new column it shows an unconventionally named, “Not entirely unlike” result.  What kind of label is that? It reminds me of the slang phrase, “it doesn’t suck”.

TopRank Marketing Editor

Google: The Social Media Company

TopRank Marketing Editor     Google, Online Marketing, Search Engines, Social Media

Over the last few years, the popularity of social channels – for professionals, teens, grandmas and everyone in between – has skyrocketed. Consider the recent numbers:

  • Twitter experienced an annual growth in 2009 of 1,382%
  • Facebook now boasts 400 million active users
  • Every minute, 20 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube

Between blog posts, Facebook status updates, tweets, videos and every other piece of social content published, there’s a whole lot of information floating around out there.

Enter the latest social media player, Google.

Google’s latest activities, acquisitions and features all point to the fact that the search giant no longer has a close eye on web 2.0; it’s already there.

Here are 5 ways Google is now becoming a dominant social media player:

TopRank Marketing Editor

Search Engines Bringing Back Variables In URLs – At Your Expense

Duplicate ContentDid you realize that search engines have gone full circle on URLs in variables? It used to be considered something to avoid, now search engines are saying variables in URLs are good, as long as you use the canonical meta tag. Google is pushing them with FeedBurner and if webmasters aren’t careful, they could fall victim to a new onslaught of duplicate content issues.

One of the biggest issues with SEO is duplicate content. If search engines can’t tell which version of a document is the original or canonical version, then there can be consequences involving less than ideal search visibility. For example, the following URLs might all point to the same web page, creating the illusion that they are copies of the same thing. But in reality, it’s just one web page.

TopRank Marketing Editor

10 Link Building Tools for Tracking Inbound Links

TopRank Marketing Editor     Google, Link Building, Online Marketing, Search Engines, SEO, SEO Tools

Measuring Inbound LinksQuality inbound links are an essential element of web site marketing and search engine optimization programs to increase traffic and online sales. The greater the number of relevant and authoritative links to a web page, the greater the potential for higher search engine rankings and qualified traffic.

A recent survey from SEOmoz illustrates just how important inbound links are to rankings. An impressive 4 of the top 5 ranking factors involve inbound links:

  • Keyword focused anchor text from external links: 73% very high importance
  • External link popularity: 71% very high importance
  • Diversity of link sources: 67% very high importance
  • Trustworthiness of the domain based on link distance from trusted domains: 66% very high importance
Lee Odden

All New Google Design

UPDATE: Google has announced the official rollout of the new design on Google Blog.

Google is a master of innovation in the search space and while they seem to subscribe to Guy Kawasaki’s “release early and release often” new product philosophy, the attention to changing the Google search page is near-holy. Minuscule design changes at even the pixel level are cautious and carefully considered. And rare.

Apparently, Google is testing a redesign and logo which you can see in this home page screen shot:

New Google Home Page 112609

The logo has changed and the “Google Search” and “I’m Feeling Lucky” buttons are blue rather than gray. But the biggest changes are on the search results page. There are three columns rather than two:

New Google Search Results 112609

Lee Odden

Google: Social Media is a Party, SEO is Bullsh*t, Advertising is Good For You

I noticed someone using Google suggest in another story today (honestly forgot where) and thought I’d see what Google “thinks” about social media. Then I tried SEO. Not surprising. Funniest of all, considering Google’s business model, was advertising.

What Google Thinks of Social Media

Pretty telling when you think about it. Of course this isn’t what Google “really thinks” about social media, it’s Google’s response to search queries and effort to predict what we’re really searching for.

Google Suggest works by drawing from searches by other Google users, sites in Google’s search index, and ads in the Google advertising network. If you’re logged in, Google will use your search history to make suggestions. It can be a handy search tool. It can also be revealing.

TopRank Marketing Editor

SES SJ: Google on Converting Visitors To Customers

TopRank Marketing Editor     Google, Search Engine Strategies

google-session
Nitin Mangtani, Lead Product Manager at Google presented a sponsored session on converting your visitors to customers, specifically through the use of internal site searches.

Businesses spend a tremendous amount of time, resources, and capital on website development and online marketing initiatives.  Getting people to a site is a challenge in itself, but another key aspect is retaining those visitors and converting them into buyers or subscribers.

Google search has set a high bar for relevance, speed, and ease of use. Unfortunately most site searches don’t meet these high expectations: 85 percent don’t return what the user sought, and 80 percent of visitors will abandon a site if search functionality is poor (Jupiter Research).

Jolina Pettice

SES SJ: Beyond Googling: Where will Customers be Searching in 5 years?

beyond-googling

Beyond Google. Where will customers be searching in 5 years?

Dixon Jones of Receptional asks the audience: Who doubts life after Google? About half the audience raises their hand.

According to Dixon, there will be life after Google and we are already there. He cites Facebook as an example of a site that is growing links more quickly than Google.

He then goes on to discuss the Trust/Convenience Contract. This contract is illustrated when searchers trust Google to give them data, as opposed to going around knocking on neighbor’s doors to find the answer.

However,  Google isn’t the only choice anymore. Users can and do go to blogs, Facebook, Twitter to retrieve information often removing Google from the equation.

TopRank Marketing Editor

SEO Basics: 6 Tips for Google Webmaster Tools

TopRank Marketing Editor     Google, Online Marketing, Search Engines, SEO, SEO Tips, SEO Tools

Google Webmaster Tools is a free service that provides a wealth of information directly from Google. Once you have verified a site with Google, they’ll give you access to all sorts of information.

Here are just a few features of Google Webmaster Tools:

1. Errors
Google Webmaster Tools will show all sorts of errors with a site. Not only does it show broken links on the site, but also links that are driving traffic to the site for which there is no valid page. Google even tells you pages it knows about but has been restricted from crawling. That’s good to know incase someone accidently blocks to much.

Google Webmaster Tools Error Report

Google Webmaster Tools Error Report

Jolina Pettice

SES NY: 8 Tips to Boost SEM Results

In the last session of the day, attendees were rewarded with 8 awesome tips to boost Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Results in a sponsored session  “Wpromote Workshop: 8 Things You Aren’t Doing That Will Boost Your SEM Results”.

Using real-life examples, this session promises to teach attendees the secrets top online marketers are using to beat the competition and squeeze the greatest results possible from their SEM efforts.   Topics include: PPC, SEO, landing page optimization and social media.

Speakers are Michael Mothner, Founder & CEO and Michael Stone, Vice President, Sales & Strategy – both from Wpromote.  Some tips you may know and some you may not, but there is definitely something for everyone.