Tips to Get Your Business in the Top 3 Rankings of Google Maps

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Changes from Google could be affecting how customers are able to find your business. You may notice that Google Maps are now listing businesses according to more than just location proximity and industry categories. Google uses business identifier to list businesses that they deem to be the most relevant. So how do you make sure your business listing doesn’t get pushed to the bottom? Check out these helpful tips!

  1. Verify your Business Listing

Checking that your Google+ business page is verified is the very first thing to do. Not sure if you have one? Well chances are you probably do, all thanks to Google! Years ago Google created roughly 83 million business pages based upon data that was already on the Internet.

To find your business, go to Google and type in “Google my business”. Click to the Google My Business page, then click the Get Onto Google button. It will prompt you to enter your Google email address and password to log in. Don’t worry if you don’t have one; you can sign up for a password. Next, in the search bar where it says “find your business,” type the name of your business and it should bring up your business listing.

Google will tell you whether the listing is claimed and if it’s claimed with the email address you are using. If it is, then you can log in and edit the page. If the email doesn’t match, then you need to claim your business.

Claiming your business is simple. You just need to verify that you are the owner. You can do this by having a verification pin sent to your phone, or by postcard. Your best bet is to have it sent via your phone because a postcard could take up to two weeks to receive.

  1. Choose the Correct Category

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Once your business page is verified, you then need to check that your business is registered in the correct category. You can check your business category by searching for your business on Google. In the search results, it will show underneath your business name the primary business category you are registered under.

If the category that is selected for your business is incorrect, then you can edit the category by searching for a classification that is better suited. You can do this in the Google My Business Centre.

  1. NAP

Name, Address, Phone Citation or NAP, is the next thing to do! You need to make sure the name, address and phone number of your business are registered correctly. This is known as a NAP citation and is important because Google uses this to recognize whether your business is trusted and relevant in the local area. After you verify your NAP, check that it is the same as the listing on your website.

  1. Citations Listed in Business Directories

Once you’ve completed all the above, you now need to consider how many citations are online and how consistent they are. If your business has moved and changed its address, then there may be a harmful amount of inconsistent citations across the Internet. So you need to check on other local business directories and sites, such as, Yelp, Yell, and Freeindex, to see if your NAP citation is the same as your website and Google + page.

Being a trusted provider is important to Google, so having a number of consistent NAP citations on dependable business directories is good!

  1. Positive Reviews

Having positive reviews about your business is important in terms of local search and can significantly help your business listing on Google. When people search for what they need in Google, Google will pull the most relevant businesses and will also consider the user generated content around those businesses via reviews.

Your business will typically need more 5-star reviews than your competitors in your local area to stand out in Google’s top 3 listings. Coming up with a review collection strategy could really help your business. Asking satisfied customers to go on Google and leave feedback about their experience could help persuade potential clients that your business is the best in the area. Also, the more positive feedback will protect your reputation if you do receive a negative review.

 

 

 

 

No More PageRank Dilution with 30x Redirects

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A few years ago, Matt Cutts, a Google software engineer, confirmed many SEO specialists’ suspicions: 301 redirects affect PageRank, which is the algorithm Google uses to rank sites in its search engine results pages (SERP). Cutts’ confirmation stated that the PageRank of an old URL was not fully passed on to the new URL, causing a drop in rankings. In order to prevent movement in the rankings, it was suggested to link through using a normal link versus using a redirect. Two years later, our pal Matt Cutts released a statement that 301 redirects no longer dilute PageRank. SEO specialists celebrated as Cutts said, “The amount of PageRank that dissipates through a 301 is currently identical to the amount of PageRank that dissipates through a link.” Now that our 301 worries are relieved, what about 302 redirects or other 30x redirects?

Up until now, all other forms of redirects still caused a dilution in PageRank. It wasn’t until last month that SEO specialists could stop worrying about PageRank when Gary Illyes, a Google webmaster trends analyst, confirmed that using a 301, 302, or 30x redirect of any kind will not result in a loss of PageRank. Google’s John Mueller also confirmed this statement.

301 redirects are used most commonly when a page with good page authority from your domain has been removed from the site. It is encouraged to add a 301 redirect from that page to another relevant page from your domain. In terms of SEO, this is a better alternative than using 404 error pages, which have no SEO advantage.

Are you interested in optimizing your search engine results? RobMark Web’s team of SEO Specialists is here to help! With a mix of white hat SEO tactics, RobMark Web can help you improve your PageRank.

Google Has Updated Local Listing Ranking Signals

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Google has updated the ranking signals for local listings. Instead of focusing mostly on proximity, it now takes into account traditional ranking signals used for organic search.

The three main areas Google considers when determining local rankings are relevance, distance, and prominence. “Prominence” is the new section added to the Google document, and within the document, it explains prominence as how well-known a business is. Not only does the prominence ranking factor take into consideration how prominent a business is offline, but they also use information like Google Review count and score, links, directory listings, articles, and organic search ranking to judge how prominent the business is online. This means that SEO best practices and your website’s ranking directly affect how well your Google My Business listing shows in local search results! Another way of looking at it is if you aren’t focusing on traditional SEO, the visibility for your Google My Business listing will suffer, and vice versa. If you haven’t paid too much attention to your Google My Business page, but have been focusing on traditional SEO tactics, your local rankings are likely to increase.

If you’re coming to the understanding that SEO is a necessity for your business’s website, call us! Robmark Web has a talented team of SEO specialists that stay up-to-date on the latest changes and adhere to all of the best practices guidelines.

10 Red Flags of a Shady SEO Provider

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Search Engine Optimization has been a buzzword for several years. Even people who may not know exactly what SEO is know it’s important in order to appear on the first page of Google. Because it is a rather convoluted conversation, many business owners stick to what they know, and hire a company to do SEO for them. Unfortunately there are several companies who take advantage of the complexity of it and may not be fully transparent in their actions. From giving the business owner wrong or bad advice to not following through on promised services, here are ten signs your SEO provider may not be legit.

 

  1. Producing Duplicate or Low Quality Content: Duplicate content is a big SEO no-no. However, some companies will copy and paste the same copy and simply swap out keywords in order to save themselves time and effort. No bueno.
  1. Lazy Tactics: Cramming all of your keywords into a title page and/or Meta keywords is just lazy and outdated. The SEO process takes more thought than that. 
  1. Blogs Only: There is so much more to SEO than blogging. Yes, blogging is one tactic in an overall strategy, but only focusing on blogs will not get you the desired results.

 

  1. Promises of a Low Bounce Rate: Depending on the website and its calls to action, the lowest bounce rate may not be your ultimate goal. For example, if you are urging people to call, a low bounce rate shows they are taking a long time to convert. Whereas if there is a high bounce rate, this could mean your customers are quickly converting and then leaving the site. If your SEO provider promises to drastically lower your bounce rate, you should ask them how they are doing it. There are companies that do it artificially by adding a script that pings Google Analytics, versus optimizing the content on the website.

 

  1. Al La Carte Services: SEO is an overall strategy that is broken up into several tactics, including copywriting, authoritative link building, Meta keywords, and more. These tactics work best when all done together. If an SEO company is giving you an option to choose one or the other, reconsider.

 

  1. Promised Outcomes: Google’s algorithms change with the wind. New businesses come into the market every day. Businesses change their strategies frequently. There are a lot of variables when it comes to organic listings, which is why nobody can guarantee rankings. If your SEO provider promised you the number one spot on a search engine results page, walk away.

 

  1. Cheap Services: SEO is a service that requires a human. It cannot be automated. And paying a real person to do real work is not cheap. This is very much a “you get what you pay for” service.

 

  1. Setup Fees: Because SEO is a manual task, not an automated one, there is nothing that needs to be “set up.” If a company tries to charge you a setup fee, ask them what it includes. A lot of research goes into an SEO project and providers will try to recoup the time by adding this extra fee. Or it is a possibility that they are just charging you extra money because they can. Either way, setup fees are something worth inquiring about.

 

  1. No Analytics Access: If your SEO provider set up Google Analytics, but won’t give you access, that is a huge red flag. And vice versa. If you already have analytics set up and your new provider doesn’t ask for access, buh-bye. How can they know what is going on with your website if they aren’t monitoring the website analytics?!

 

  1. No Monthly Reporting: R&M does offer quarterly reporting options for a client with a smaller budget, but monthly reporting is always recommended when it comes to SEO. Because there are constant tweaks being made and the organic listings atmosphere is frequently changing, it is beneficial to be able to see the continual progress.

 

If you are working with an SEO company and you noticed one or more of these red flags, cut your losses. Robmark Web has been Savannah’s top SEO company since 2008 and we pride ourselves on staying up on the latest trends and being fully transparent when it comes to our actions, access, reporting, and billing. Your success is our success.

Reviews Trump Testimonials in 2016

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A lot of pieces of the local marketing puzzle moved around in 2015. For example, Google’s 7-pack shrank to 3 and Google+ removed location information, marking two of the biggest recent changes in this arena. Until Google makes additional changes, right now, your business listing’s Knowledge Box and Google Maps are the only places where your business information, including reviews, is shown.

Reviews have always been important, especially when it comes to potential customers. And now that Google has purged information from the listings, including the business description, categories, and photos, all you’re left with is your business name, basic contact information, and reviews. This means the importance of these reviews has increased, so much so that it may be time to rethink your review/testimonial strategy.

Customers want to see unbiased, honest reviews on a third-party site, not hand-picked testimonials. Have you ever looked at your website analytics to find activity on your site’s Testimonial page? If you have one, it is most likely one of the least-visited pages on your entire website. Consumers want to read the good with the bad and gather enough information about a company to make a decision themselves.

That being said, instead of a testimonials page, we suggest a reviews page that links to various off-site reviews, including Google Reviews as well as other sites your customers may frequent. For example, restaurant-goers are more likely to use Yelp, while those reviewing a medical facility are likely to use Healthgrades.

Keep in mind that Yelp frowns upon direct links to a listing page. However, by conducting a Google search for “[your business] Yelp” and using that SERP URL as the link, you are putting the Yelp reviews on a platter for the user without sending them directly there, and Yelp sees it as the visit coming from an organic search.

Now your Reviews page is a wealth of useful information that a customer can appreciate. Having these links also makes it easier for customers to leave reviews. It’s a win-win!

What Is The Best Digital Channel For Local Businesses?

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When it comes to local businesses, generating leads is a case of “work smarter, not harder.” There is very little time or money available to waste on avenues that do not generate any return on investment (ROI). That being said, which digital channels generate the most traffic and provide the most ROI for local businesses?

BrightLocal, a SEO software company, ran a survey with the objective of better understanding which digital channels take the most time and effort, and which ones deliver the greatest return, with hope that these findings could help local businesses make better-informed decisions about where to allocate their marketing time and budget.

Quality Leads
According to the survey, Organic and Local Search deliver the highest quality leads, followed by Direct Traffic and Google AdWords, which has seen an increase in quality leads from 2014. It isn’t much of a surprise that Search—Organic or Local—holds the number one spot, since they both have the advantage of attracting customers who are considered “high intent” and are already engaged in the purchase process, which means they are more likely to convert to a sale.

Direct Traffic also brings in high-quality leads because it is often comprised of returning customers or consumers who are already familiar with the business. This signifies appreciation or trust, which improves conversions drastically.

Social channels, though business owners are spending a reasonable amount of time optimizing them, aren’t delivering high-quality leads. However, social channels have proven valuable as engagement and communication tools used ideally to build brand affinity.

ROI
The survey’s findings for ROI are very similar to the findings for quality leads; Local and Organic Search prove to have the highest ROI compared to all other digital marketing channels. Though it does take time and money to develop a well-established, long-lasting presence in Local and Organic Search, businesses are getting out of it what they put in.

Website Traffic
Aside from quality leads and ROI, the survey took website traffic into consideration, as well, and according to the survey, Local Search was the leading traffic source. Local Search beat out Organic Search in the amount of website traffic by 6 percent, which is a 4 percent increase over last year. Local Search gives small and midsize businesses the opportunity to compete against larger brands and websites on the search engine results pages, however, the Local Search real estate is much smaller than the organic listings, especially since Google’s recent switch from seven local results to three.

Local Search has proved to be the winner of the title ‘Best Digital Channel for a Local Business’ with Organic Search as a close runner-up. Local Search drives traffic to your website, develops quality leads, and gives you the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to return on investment.

Robmark Web has experienced SEO specialists on staff who are able to work with local businesses on developing their Local and Organic Search presence. If you are interested in a local SEO consultation, call (912) 921-1040.