Interesting Changes in Citations and Links this year.
Last year, as a matter of practice , when we did on line visibility programs for clients we added directory links to many of the major on line directories, yellow pages, and other local web sites. We would then track the traffic from each (as part of the analytics) and quality scoring. Part of that was watching the back links report to see when the listing, citation or link was “indexed”.
We do much more than just this process during on line visibility programs, so we have a very rounded profile to drive traffic to a clients site.
The interesting thing is, most of the local directory and y.p sites are no longer showing up as links, or as indexed, and the traffic to a clients site from these sources is way down
Here is an example. Hot Frog has traditional been a good citation site and gets a lot of traffic. But sine January, we have not seen a clients listing appear as a link to there site, and traffic is almost non existent.
This listing has been live for almost three months. No sign of it any where on Google Web Master, SEOmoz reports and any other reports we use.
I could add 10 more examples here. But the point being, has the search world stopped recognizing this directory listings? And if so how valuable are they to driving traffic to a site.
A company’s Social Media program is in intent, very similar to the reasons they may employe search engine optimization programs. Both bring visibility to their web site, and web properties. Both are promotional devices.
Good SEO and Social media is nothing more than great P.R. So to really understand either, a business needs to understand P.R. first.
I am not a P.R. expert. What I do understand about it, is it’s all about making your business stand out, and attractive to your target market, and therefore you have to start with the well thought out process of knowing who your target market is, and what they want.
Notice the word want, not need in the above sentence. The number one mistake you can make is talking about what your prospects need. Frankly, a lot of what you think your prospects need, is really boring. Do you see Chevrolet promoting the most basic form of automobile transportation possible? Nope, they promote the flash people want. You should do the same.
So, your first two tasks in Social Media and SEO need to be:
Who are my people?
Want do they want?
If you are a bagel shop (I use this because I once owned three of them) you can promote what your prospects need, that being breakfast. ” Come get breakfast at Mike’s Bagel and coffee”
Or what they want.
“Come enjoy a freshly baked all natural bagel of your choice, served hot in 3 minutes or less. for less than $1.00”
Now you want to promote your coffee and espresso sales. Add this banner in your store.
“Turn in any used Star Bucks coffee cup, and get a free espresso”
And then, there is the simple premise that different gets noticed, and noticed is what you want to be.
Different: ” Our employees wear Pajamas on Tuesdays because…Tuesdays are PJ mornings at Mike’s Bagels. Wear your pajamas and your bagel and Coffee is free!
How does this have any thing to do with Social Media? Well, you just found what you can be promoting on your face book, Web Site and twitter properties.
Your people are the people that drive past your shop every morning and stop somewhere for coffee or breakfast. The same cars going through the Starbucks or McDonald drive thru, could be in your store. Target your promotions to the zip codes that use the streets that go close to your Bagel Shop. Send a coupon or welcome postcard to the zip codes that are clearly moving past your store on the way to work/school/ where ever, each morning. Don’t send to zips or area’s past your store in the main direction of traffic (Unless you are promoting Dinner). On the postcard or letter, have your Face Book address, and they can get their free stuff and see your current cool promotions there.
How does all this tie into SEO? Simple, the more social followers you have, and tweats about your site, the more your sites rankings will improve. Not only that, but if your Pajama Tuesdays takes off, people will start searching for Pajama Tuesdays and your site (which mentions it of course) will come up very highly for the term.
So I have just defined the basics of my social media strategy for Mike’s Bagels. Start with the P.R. and the rest will follow.
We would love to hear what great “Promotional” idea’s you have seen on social media for local businesses.
For businesses in Denver and throughout Colorado, who are interested in promoting their services utilizing the Internet, this weeks news that Bing + Yahoo is now over 30% of searches should not go ignored.
The Bing Yahoo combo picked up over 6% while Google fell 3% in Search traffic. These are big numbers, but they still represent the “gross” numbers. We will be watching to see if we can get more industry specific statistics. It should be noted that on a very small scale we have seen Bing searches (Clicks) pick up in the home improvement area last month, but, far to little data to make a definitive statement.
What to do? Check your Bing SEO rankings. Make sure you read information (specific) on Bing optimization. Make sure you use the Bing web master tools, and have your local company listed in Bings local program.
If you are using Google exclusively for pay per click it may be time to divide the budget and spend 30% with Bing- Yahoo. Or add 30% and use them.
We will follow up with a few specific tips on SEO on Bing for Denver and Colorado Businesses over the next few weeks.
My One Call specializes in regional and local SEO, and we our main office is in Lafayette CO. We have had great success with Longmont based business, all ending up on the first page, position 1-3 on Google for their main key words.
We optimize your local directories (Google places, Yahoo local and Bing Local) as well as complete your organic optimization, including social media, to insure you get the best Internet visibility possible.
Our prices are competitive, and we will let our clients tell you about our service. You can see what many of them have siad on our seo client testimonials page.
So Google is rolling out its latest version of social media. But something is different with this try. It may really work! And if it does, SEO will change forever and ever and ever. Really.
I am not going to go into what the Google 1+ is. A thousand SEO’s and Social media blogs have already done that in the first 3 hours of the Google announcement. You can read the Google you tube on it here -> (Good Stuff)
So, as Google rolls out this new Social media system, where you can give a plus (like a face book like) to any of your search results, and your Google network will see those, and the site’s you and others like will be elevated (one can assume) in the search engine results The SEO factor that is clearly and with out question the most important is the one thing that never changes. Great content.
You can do all the back linking, on site tweaking , meta description re working, navigational assessing, you tube professing, and none of it will beat driving traffic to your site by having amazing, interesting, unusually engaging, fun and sharable (I think I made that word up) content.
Because Google is moving towards the individual and their social network (google profile required) being the SEO. So even though some businesses have spent a huge amount of time and energy on all the SEO tactics in the SEO Moz, SEObook and all the other universes, it all comes down to this.
Like I said in any earlier blog. Search engine optimization is easy! It was a popularity contest for Google’s attention. Now its a popularity contest for your attention.
How to be Interesting. Well, just look at what catches peoples attention, and then go look at your on line stuff. Would it catch your neighbors attention?
Now I see national sites doing a lot more research, fun, and great content than local sites. The reasons don’t need to be stated. But…I will any way… resources. Time, money, talent, cash flow. all that. But we in the Local world, that being those of us, which is the VAST majority of us, who work, play, sell, and buy primarily in our own little towns, villages and cities, must start doing something that we are not all that good at. Yes. Be Interesting !
Future SEO = finding and developing Interested and engaging web properties and spaces. Content and Marketing creatives rejoice. Your time has come in the SEO world.
An important piece to getting your local site ranked on Google is the citations for your site in your Google places listing (and some that may not show up in Google Places)
Here are some surprising citations we have seen in Google Places listings, and some that are not surprising but worth the trouble of obtaining.
Linked in Company profile
Craig’s list (classified advertising)
Yelp.com (business listing
Angie’s list ( Business Listing
And, from our work it does appear you will get more citations from your own site if your pages are well indexed in Google. Use Google web master tools (free) and submit your site map. This of course is good for normal SEO, but appears to help in your Google places ranking as well.
There is some reason to assume that Google has diminished the value of your citations, and Google places optimization in General as it relates to your sites ranking. My feeling is Google has lost some faith in its Google places ranking system due to the MANY programs it has encountered, and may be taking a bit of a breather, or a step back and figure it it period.
Some of this assumption is based on watching new listings over the last 6 months, and how they do not reflect the same information as listings from 12 or 18 months ago, even though they should.
But the one thing we know is your rankings are impacted by both the Citations your site has and it’s links, and that Google does take your Google places listing into account for your over all rankings for local intent keywords.
Don’t make the mistake of only focusing on Link’s. A well balanced portfolio of Links, Content, citations, and more content will go a long way. Do remember, Getting your site visible is about promoting your site as if Google didn’t exist. If you are doing anything just because you think Google likes it, it probably will not be a very good long term tactic.
For the second time this year a client has called me about their Google ad words program. Both had just started it on their own within a 30 day period, and were seeing really poor results.
Here is what they both had in common.
Google ad words really wants your ad, and keywords to match very closely. You need to do individual campaigns for each key word type. So if you sell Search Engine Optimization services, you would want to do separate campaigns on:
Search engine optimization
And use a different Ad for each with that keyword in the Ad.
Also, you have 4 choices of types of keywords. Start with exact match. That means the searcher will have to type in the exact keyword phrase you bid on, and you will get very targeted traffic, and a higher click through rate. A higher click through rate really helps with your quality score, and that affects the price you pay per click!
And…. make sure your ads are geo targeted for your city, or just the areas you service. I have seen local companies do national campaigns by mistake, using $50. daily budgets. The last thing you check before going live should be your location targeting.
There are many other things to pay attention to. But I would recommend you have a company that does pay per click at least set up your campaign. You don’t have to have them run it (Frankly, that’s the easy part after the set up) but having them set it up will save you a ton of time, and get the ad words campaign started correctly.