WordPress – Posts or Pages – Which is Best?

Using Wordpress Pages

Worpress Pages DashboardWordPress posts or pages – which one should you use when publishing your content? Is there a difference?

So Few WordPress Pages

Many blogs based on the WordPress platform use only a few pages on the site. That could be a mistake for two reasons:

  • Long term search engine rankings
  • Visitor time on site and conversion

Pages Are Your Showroom

From an SEO perspective, here’s what I’ve found for using WordPress blogs:

  • Pages are your showroom
  • Posts are your promotion

Posts can rank well in the search engines, but unless your site is structured around categories and pages, visitors coming to those post will not find more of what they’re looking for. According to Steve Krug in his fantastic book, Don’t Make Me Think, a visitor landing on your post is looking to answer these questions:

  1. What is this?
  2. What can I do here?
  3. What do they have here?
  4. Why should I be here – and not somewhere else?
  5. Where do I start?

I’m convinced that you can’t answer these questions unless you treat the WordPress Platform like two separate sites:

  • Pages – Important content that you want visitors to view and the content you want to rank in the search engines
  • Posts – Promotional and conversational pieces to send visitors to pages and support those pages to rank higher

Posts are like television news and pages are like a feature movie. People watch TV while doing a lot of other things. They’re often distracted and interrupted when watching. When people go to the movies, they’re getting higher quality content (hopefully), they’re not interrupted and they’re paying full attention.

The 100 to 1 Ratio

For SEO purposes, a blog post should always promote a page. For competitive keywords, the ratio of posts to pages may be 100 to 1. That ratio can be reduced by sending external links to the pages. You will also need fewer posts or links for less competitive terms.

Think of the concept of landing pages. They’re not call landing posts for a reason. You control the page, you test it and then you change it to perform better.

Site Structure and Pages

I’m testing pages as the site structure for blogs now. I’m converting category pages to static pages and doing evergreen content as pages. When I layout the initial site structure, I’m doing that as pages not posts.

Take the example of a photography review site. My categories might be cameras, lenses, flashes, tripod and so on. Each of those categories would be pages. Within those pages, I would control the navigation to sub-categories within the site. Posts could be used for individual products or items, and those posts should be added to the category page. Other posts would promote the product posts and the category pages like this:

Using WordPress Pages

If you’ve created a blog just to create links, pages are not necessary. However, if you’re creating a website based on the WordPress platform, then you need to use pages for good site design, showcasing your most important content and small business SEO rankings.

Small Business SEO – Understanding The Search Process Video

What happens if you have traffic coming to your website, but your results are much less than you expected? If you’re focused strictly on small business SEO and you’re generating traffic, then now is the time to understand the SEO search process that visitors use.

The search process video below is about 5 minutes and 15 seconds, but could be the best five minutes you invest in a long time. Internet marketing is a two phase process:

  1. Generate traffic with SEO and other methods
  2. Converting traffic to your desired action

If you have traffic, but no results it’s likely a mistake in strategy.


 

The Big Internet Marketing Mistake

What do visitors do when they come to your site? It’s a big mistake to think they come to your site to read the content. They don’t. When they first come to your site or a page on the site, they are still in the search process.

The video describes the five phase search process:

The SEO Search Process

The search process steps are:

  1. Search Engine – type the search term into Google or one of the other search engines
  2. Skim / Read the search engine results page (SERP)
  3. Click the most the result that seems most relevant
  4. Evaluate the page the search engine serves
  5. Read the content

Visitors don’t read your content until the fifth step. If you have spent valuable time and money generating traffic using small business SEO and local SEO, but you’re not getting the results you expected, misunderstanding the search process is probably why. You may need to change your content, website design and structure.

I could attempt to explain it here, but the video is a much better way to do that, but let’s look at a couple of images from the video. Which one do you think would get the visitors attention and entice them to read more?

SEO Content Comparison

Wham! What a Difference

I’m reading the page on the left side. I’m betting you would too. Now, the question is, which of these examples is closer to your site. I urge to the watch the video for more.

Local SEO and Slow SEO

Slow SEO Turtle

We rush, we rush and then we rush some more. We look for magic bullets, low hanging fruit and quick hits. Not all things can be done quickly though. We know it, even if we don’t like it. Local SEO results can take much longer than we like, but that’s not so bad. Let’s look at a new idea I had today when writing some new content. Let’s talk about Slow SEO.

Slow SEO Turtle

What is Slow SEO?

Slow SEO is what happens when you don’t have the deep pockets to spend lots of money on search engine optimization and internet marketing. Well, that includes most of us. But this is not all bad. Slow SEO is mostly what happens anyway for small businesses.

Slow SEO is building your small business SEO program over time and affordably. The content that I was writing when this idea came to me is our new page on affordable small business SEO – SEO on $100 a week. Yes, a solid SEO program is possible on $100 a week, but the trade-off is in time and patience, and patience is what slow SEO is all about.

Why You Should Consider Slow SEO

If your a small business, going slow with your search program is probably the best strategy from a return on investment point of view. If you go slow and methodically, you can adjust to what’s working and spend more time and money on that. You can stop what’s not working and you can do it before you spend a ton of money.

Going full-out and spending $20,000, only to see some small results is $20,000 gone. Spending that money over 20 months is a different story. You expect to see results as you’re spending the money and you will. There’s a fast way to driving search traffic to your site and it’s called PPC – pay per click advertising. It skips all the time and hassles of building organic (free) search traffic. Of course the big problem is that it costs you a bundle and you keep paying.

Affordable is Relevant

If your breaking into the running shoe business you will be competing with Nike and Reebok and other big players. Affordable in this market is still a lot of money. $100 a week won’t make a dent. However, if you’re a local dentist or doctor, a local shoe store, a local restaurant and such, you are likely to see big results for your $100 a week investment.

Google is Slow

Google is slow to rank and slow to keep ranking. The reason is a good one – trust. Google wants to return the best results for their searchers who are their customers for paid advertisements. They want to know that if they rank you, you’ll be around for a while and won’t hurt them.

My experience with our real estate website and local SEO is that I saw some good results in about three months, but it took two years to get the full benefits. There’s a lot of competition for our terms, so we had to prove our worth to Google first. Yahoo and Bing are a little different, but the same principles hold.

Going the slow SEO route makes sense for many small businesses. Build your SEO content slowly and steadily and over time you’ll see solid results.

Small Business SEO – Barrier to Entry for New Business Startup?

Starting a new business is a challenge. There’s finding the right location, buying furnishings and equipment, hiring people, business planning, marketing planning and more. Recently though, there’s a new barrier that’s entered the mix for business startups – small business SEO.

Small Business street scene

People are online. For most, if not all businesses, people are using the internet to find products and services. They may be using search engines or social media like Facebook to start their search or find out more about a business. How are your potential customers and existing customers using search?

A New Barrier for Small Business Startup?

Is there a new barrier to entry for starting a small businesses. If a high percentage of your customers and potential customers will come from the internet, you must be able to get your business in front of those people. If you can’t, because of costs or resources, you may not be able to generate enough business to survive.

Starting a business today without an internet presence visible to your customers is like building your store in the middle of the desert. No one will see you.

Choices for Internet Marketing

Your choices to establish a presence depends on where your customers go online. Here are the basic options:

  • Pay Per Click (PPC) Traffic
  • Ads on Other Sites
  • Small Business SEO
  • Local SEO including Google Places, Merchant Ciricle, etc.
  • Facebook Pages and Facebook Ads

Several of these choices are an ongoing expense. You will pay every time a searcher clicks on a PPC ad. Ads on other sites will be expensive, often hundreds of dollars a month for one site. Small business and local SEO will require time and money to set up and maintain. Facebook Pages are free to set-up, but take time and resources to make attractive for your customers, and, Facebook Ads will require a regular expenditure.

So What Do I Do?

You, or someone you hire, must do the research to find out where your customers are online. I’ll admit freely that if there is significant search traffic, I will pursue SEO for small business because the costs of the program decrease over time. While building traffic through local SEO, pay per click advertising may be needed. If your business is suited for Facebook, you need to have a solid presence there, but Facebook will not be effective for all markets.

Basically, find your customers online and meet them where they are!

Due Diligence

When starting or buying a business, due diligence is required to be sure that the investment will be profitable. Today, due diligence includes research and analysis of online marketing requirements.

Small business SEO and internet marketing can make or break a new business. Make sure you know how it will affect yours.

Small Business SEO Challenges

Small Business SEO Challenges
The challenges for small business owners are massive. Small business SEO and internet marketing add more challenges. Indeed, in some ways it presents a threat.

Imagine you own a store. Then, imagine that one out of every ten potential customers are blind to your store when they walk by. Then can’t see it at all. It doesn’t exist for them. Now imagine that was five years ago. Since then the blindness has increased to three of every ten and within another year it could be five or more.

This is exactly what is happening for business owners who don’t have a web presence or don’t have a web presence in the search engines. Local SEO is needed to make your business visible to search engines and visitors who buy what you sell.

The Three Challenges of Small Business SEO

Let’s categorize the challenges for small business owners when thinking about internet marketing. Here’s a story to illustrate.

Sergeant Johnson must do some crazy things to qualify for special forces. He must dive off a cliff, land in the water without hurting himself and then swim five miles across the channel to the other shore.

Sergeant Johnson has some thinking and deciding to do. First, is this special forces thing really worth it? Second, do I have the skills to jump off a cliff without hurting myself. Finally, do I have the stamina to swim five miles across open water?

The small business owner looking at internet marketing for the first time is a lot like Sergeant Johnson. Is it really worth it? Do I have the skills or can I find them without a huge hassle and expense? Will my efforts get me to the search engine rankings and how long will it take?

The Challenges of small business for local search engine optimization can be looked at in three steps:

  1. Deciding if internet marketing is worth it for my business
  2. Getting started
  3. Staying with it until it pays off

Deciding if Small Business SEO is Worth It

Let’s go back to the beginning of this article. How many potential customers are walking by your door because they never see you? It’s pretty simple but powerful question. If some percentage of customers in a business come from online searchers and your business is not where they search, they will never see you.

So, this decision comes down to two basic questions:

What percentage of potential customers start their search online? The National Association of Realtors reports:

Information sources used in home search:

  • Internet: 74%
  • Real estate agent: 69%
  • Yard sign: 22%
  • Open house: 12%
  • Newspaper ad: 9%
  • Home book or magazine: 6%

If you’re a real estate agent and you don’t have a solid internet presence, you will be missing out on a lot of business. What are the numbers in your business segment? Check with your industry association, talk to other people in the same business, but find out.

The second question is do you have the resources necessary to compete in the search engines and using other forms of marketing on the internet?

Budgets are critical for most small business owners and if you don’t have the money, you need to determine if you have the time to learn and do the work necessary for building a web site and ranking in the search engines. If you don’t have the time or the money you’re not going to make a dent in a competitive market.

But, let’s assume you have the resources necessary and you are sure of the need for small business SEO and a search engine presence. Now what do you do?

Getting Started With Small Business and Local SEO

What do you need to get started with SEO? If you are new to SEO, watch our Small Business SEO Explained Video that we created just for small business owners.

Whether you do the work or someone else do the work, to get started you need to get the technical aspect of site design and SEO right:

  • Site Structure
  • Site Design
  • Hosting
  • Content Management and Content Management Platform
  • Market Research
  • Competitive Research
  • Keyword Research
  • On Page SEO
  • Link Plans

Practical SEO – The Real Work

Once the technical aspects of SEO are complete, the work begins and the work is all about content. Content offers three challenges:

  • Creating Content
  • Creating Lots and Lots of Content
  • Staying With Content Creation

The quality of your content must be better than the competition. It’s that simple. Do whatever it takes to make your content the best in your industry. Then the content must be written for both customers (first) and SEO (second). Don’t be fooled into believing that only SEO content matters. It’s always customers first.

I believe in the very near future that content creation quality and volume will be barriers to entry into many business segments. If you’re not able to create good content and lots of it – you can’t play.

Blog rate abandonment is estimated to be 95%. If you spend a lot of time searching on the internet you see that many businesses fall into that category or they’re teetering on the edge. The rate of content creation and maintaining that rate are critical. If you are not in it for the long term, you are not in. You must stay with content creation forever. The rate of new content is based on your business segment and competition, but plan to create new content for as long as you are in business.

Not What You Wanted to Hear?

Sorry, I don’t pull punches. I don’t tell you BS to sell you. Internet Marketing and small business SEO are competitive and becoming more competitive by the moment. If there’s a market, then there is or will be competition for search engine rankings. It takes work, it takes resources, it takes skill and knowledge. If anyone is telling you it’s easy, they’re wrong. Easy rankings generally mean that there’s no competition or no market.

If you have questions call me (Mike Byrne) at 386-295-2049. You can also reach me by email. I am a Daytona Beach SEO Specialist, but I service the US and Canada and beyond.

Understanding Small Business SEO Video

If you are a small business owner or small business manager, then this video is for you. It explains small business SEO and what’s needed to get your site and its pages to rank in the search engines in the long term.

Take 10 minutes now to watch the small business SEO video.

Small Business SEO Video

 

 

The video covers:

You’re not going to learn SEO from a 10 minute video, but you will know a lot more than you do now, especially if you’re just getting into search engine optimization.

We know that many small business owners are gaining competitive advantages from using local SEO and small business SEO. It’s important to understand that unlike print advertising, the results are not immediate. It takes time to rank and keep the rankings in competitive markets. It’s a bit of a leap of faith, but the results can be impressive.

Even better, you are making an investment. Unlike the continuing expense of print and broadcast media, the money you spend on SEO builds an asset. You don’t need to keep feeding the machine dollars once you’ve reach your ranking goals. There’s ongoing maintenance costs, but those are a fraction of the initial costs. Do you know of any other advertising media that cost you less as it becomes more effective?

There’s a lot of information in the video. If you have questions about small business SEO or local SEO, give Mike at call at 386-295-2049. You can also go to our contact page.

Local SEO – Every Keyword is a Campaign

Keyword Campaign Index Card

Keyword Campaign Index Card

Here is your Local SEO 3×5 Card for the week focusing on keyword campaigns.

Search engines rank pages not websites. This is so important to keep in mind for local SEO. Even if CNN is ranking number one for your keyword term, you are competing against that page, not the CNN website.

If you set out with your small business SEO campaign thinking that you are going to beat a competitor’s website, you’re likely to waste time and money, make yourself very frustrated and end up believing that SEO doesn’t work.

Target One Keyword Phrase at a Time

We conduct market research and keyword research to determine the best targets for our website visitors. While you may have a list of 20 keywords that you want to target, you must consider each as a separate campaign. Why?

It’s really basic; search engines rank pages and you need to give them what they want to rank your page. To give them what they want you must provide the content that they’re looking for and send enough links to your pages to let the search engines know they are relevant and important.

And, never, never forget the customer. It does you no good to rank number one for a search term if your content doesn’t meet the searcher’s needs and answer their questions.

A Skirmish, A Battle, Or All Out War?

Now that you’re convinced that you need a campaign for each keyword term, how do we determine how big that campaign will be and how much time and money we’ll need to give the search engines and searchers what they want.

The Campaign Factors

Here are the factors that determine the extent of your campaign:

Competition
The Authority of Your Site
Your Conversion Goals

Competition

First, How many other pages are targeting this keyword phrase? But, more importantly, how many are intentionally and aggressively targeting this phrase. Do they have the keyword in the title, description, on the page several times, or, did they simply mention the term on their page. That happens a lot in Local SEO. It’s because no local businesses are targeting a good term, so other sites that simply mention the term, are ranking. A really fast check is to see how many links with the keyword in the anchor text are going to the page.

Competition varies even for the same term in a different location. It just depends if competitors in that town have begun their small business SEO campaigns.

Your campaign may be a single page, five pages or 50 pages or more. It depends on the term and the competition.

Your Site Authority

If CNN wanted to rank for your local keyword term, they would create page with relevant content, put the keyword in the article, title and description and then send a few links from their site to the page. A link from the home page would rank it number one forever.

CNN has authority. They have 1.5 million pages and 25 million links. What you have now can help you rank for other terms. If your site is 8 years old with 500 pages relevant to the new keyword campaign, then your work will be easier than if you have a new site.

Your Conversion Goals

What do you want the visitor to do once they get to your page? What action do you want? Is your page created to lead them to this action?

If you want people to contact you, then make it clear. If you want them to go to product pages, entice them to do it and make it easy. If you want to educate them first, then multiple pages with videos may be needed. What you need to do to lead visitors to your desired action determines the number of pages and the depth of content.

This Seems Like a Lot of Work!

Perhaps this seems like a lot of work for local SEO, but that’s why you do keyword research to make sure there’s traffic. You look to see if your competition has been running Adwords and how much they’re paying. You make sure it will be worth the effort before you target a competitive term. But, if the traffic is there and your term converts, your one time big effort with a little maintenance will pay off for years. What other marketing platform gives you what no cost organic local SEO provides?

My business has prospered using Daytona Beach SEO methods to give visitors and search engines what they want. It can work for you.

Assessing Local SEO Competition – Part 1

Biloxi Seafood Wonder Wheel

How much should it cost you for your local seo program? The answer is based on one key factor – competition for the keywords you’re targeting.

Assessing Local SEO Competition – Part 1

This will be a multi-part series on assessing small business SEO local competition. This first part will define exactly what we will be looking for to determine the level of competition. Parts to follow will deal with tools for manual assessment and then tools for automating the assessment process.

Here are the factors we will looking at in Part 1:

Who’s Number 1?
Google Places
Adwords Competition
Google Keyword Traffic
Google Recommendation
Real SEO Competition

Who Is Ranking Number 1 in Google?

It’s best to use an example. Since we are focusing on small business, let’s go with a geographically targeted keyword phrase – Biloxi Seafood Restaurants. Although I picked Biloxi randomly, it is a good example of how small businesses are addressing local SEO.

So, the question is who among the local Biloxi seafood restaurants in number 1? The answer is not as easy as it looks. First Mary Mahoney’s is at the top of the Google Places 7-pack.

Google Places for Biloxi Seafood

Google places are not part of SEO, but SEO is part of Google Places. I’ll explain shortly. For now though, see the Mary Mahoney’s is first in Google Places.

Looking at the top 10 listings in the natural or organic search results, we see no local restaurants with the exception of Bonefish Grill which is a national chain. All the other organic listings are from Yelp, Yahoo and other aggregators. By aggregator, I mean a site that take information for a location, builds a page and then has it rank because of the size of the site (in number of pages).

Organic Listing for Biloxi Seafood

Mary Mahoney’s is the first organic listing for a local restaurant – at the top of page two. No other local restaurant is ranked in the top 50 of Google results. Mary Mahoney’s has the top Google Places listing and the top organic listing. This is unlikely an accident. Mary Mahoney’s is at the top of Google Places because they are the top organically ranked site. Otherwise, neither Mahoney’s or any other Biloxi seafood restaurant is aggressively pursuing SEO.

Google Places

We discussed Google Places above. It is the easiest way to get on the first page of Google – FOR NOW! The key ingredients are reviews and other pages linking to the site with information that Google considers important for Places rankings.

Do you need to be in Google Places. Yes, absolutely starting yesterday. Competitors who are there now are ahead of you in reviews and probably in SEO. Get in Google Places now.

Adwords Competition

A quick competitive review is to make sure there are a few Adwords present. There are only a few Adwords bids showing for Biloxi Seafood Restaurant. It’s probably not a highly searched term, so let’s move to the next step.

Google Keyword Traffic

Access the Google Adwords Keyword Tool by typing “google keyword tool” into the Google search box. Once at the keyword tool, type Biloxi seafood restaurants in the Word or Phrase box. Enter the captcha in the box and click the search button. We see (on this day) that there are 390 monthly searches for Biloxi Seafood Restaurants. That’s about 13 a day. Not a high number, but not bad for one term. Look at the rest of the list we exported from the keyword tool and you’ll see more terms to add to the total:

Biloxi Seafood Restaurant Keywords

Look at the total – 33,439 monthly searches for keyword terms related to Biloxi Seafood Restaurants. Most of that traffic right now is going to the aggregators and they can be pretty easily outranked. If a seafood restaurant in Biloxi wanted to increase sales, there is a golden opportunity. Look at the Competition column. A higher number means more competition, with 1 being the most competitive. This is a low competition market. There is plenty of traffic and low competition. Small Business SEO with Google Places would yield a lot of traffic within six months to year, but probably a lot sooner.

Google Recommendations

Type Biloxi Restaurants in the Google search box and click search. Go to the bottom of the page and you’ll see, Searched related to Biloxi Restaurant. As you can see, Google is giving you additional search terms.

Biloxi Seafood Related Sites

Next, look on the left column of the search results. Click on show search tools and then Wonder Wheel. What have we here? Google is showing more search terms that are related to your term. Analyze each of these terms in the same way and you can see that there is a lot of opportunity.

Biloxi Seafood Wonder Wheel

Real SEO Competition

When you type Biloxi Seafood Restaurants in the Google search box, you’re getting what are called broad match results. This means that Google will give you results broadly related to your term. Type “Biloxi Seafood Restaurants” with the quotes and you are getting Phrase match terms. What is the difference? They show us if anyone is aggressively targeting your search term. They are giving a key element of local SEO competition.

Here are the results in terms of pages returned for each type for Biloxi Seafood Restaurants:

Broad Match – 380,000 pages
Phrase Match – 10,800 pages

We can see that only 2.8% of the pages that Google show in broad match show in phrase match, but let’s take it one step further. Type allintitle:Biloxi Seafood Restaurants. The results show on 363 pages in the world have our search term in the title. Now type allintitle:”Biloxi Seafood Restaurants”. The results drop to 68. That’s our competitive number. These are the pages we need to beat. How tough can that be?

Page Links

The first result of the 68 phrase match allintitle is from Yelp. It is showing 102 backlinks to the page using Yahoo! Site Explorer (https://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/mysites). However, site explorer shows only 15 of those links are from external sources and all of those are from one site (Yahoo Local). That’s the number one result and they are there not because of the page strength, but because of the site size. A local site using local SEO should be able to gain that number one listing over time. There’s no guarantee but it should be accomplished in a short period of time.

Summary

There’s a lot of material here when you look at it for the first time. We describe the different elements here so that when we talk about automating the process, you’ll know what’s behind the scenes. You can check a few sites following this method, but come back in a few days for Part 2 of Assessing Local SEO Competition. If you have questions or comments just type them in the comment box below.

Small Business SEO Investment

Small Business SEO Investment

Are you making a big mistake with your marketing and advertising dollars? Many business owners are now making a different marketing choice by making the small business SEO investment.

Small Business SEO Investment

This is the second 3x5xSEO index card article. Looking at the card, the left line shows cost and the bottom line shows time. I love the simplicity of this 3×5 card and what it shows. Traditional media buys include television, newspaper, magazine, radio, TV, billboards and signs, park benches, bus advertising and more. A new media buy platform has emerged in the past 10 years – internet advertising on other people’s platforms.

The biggest new media platform is Google and its Adwords program. This is PPC or pay per click advertising. Google puts your ad on its search results page and on other sites in their content network. You bid for a keyword term and the cost will be pretty high in competitive markets. PPC can be very effective, but you pay by the click. You are spending every time someone clicks on your ad. Other internet advertising opportunities are available too. You can put text ads or display ads on many sites. You may pay by the click or by the month, but you must continue to pay for your ad to display.

The Biggest Opportunity for Small Business Marketing

Never before in the history of business, has a small business owner had the opportunity to create their own platform to market their products and services. Only a few years ago, if a small business created a newsletter or catalog, they would still need to buy names or distribution for their creations. The internet has changed everything.

The New Marketing Model vs. Old Models

The internet gives you, the small business marketer, the opportunity to directly present your story, your unique vision, your character and your products and services to people who are actually looking for what you have to offer. Contrast this model or method to the old model. Let’s use newspapers as an example.

In the newspapers model, you pay for your ad placement. Unless you pay for multiple placements, your ad is in one place in the whole newspaper. If a reader happens to read the page your ad is on, happens to see your ad, and, is interested at that time, then they might call you or visit your business. That’s a lot of ifs. To get a regular stream of customers, you must pay over and over again. It’s call advertising expense – not investment.

Using small business SEO flips the old model upside down. First, SEO is targeted. You are presenting your business to people who are looking for you and your products. Second, there are still a few ifs, but they’re ifs you can control. If your content grabs their attention, and if your content keeps their attention, and if it provides what they’re looking for, they will take the next step to becoming a buying customer. Wow, what a difference. A precise targeted model vs. placing an ad and crossing your fingers.

Investment vs. Expense

Now for the harsh reality. If you are in a competitive market, you will need to invest your own time and resources in building your SEO presence, or you will need to engage an SEO consultancy. There will be initial costs in setting up your website, creating a good design, building the best possible content and then external link building to get your site ranked. The cost will be based on online competition in the market. In many markets the competition is light, in others its tough. But that’s good. If you see two or three other businesses competing hard, it means there’s business to be had.

Think And – Not Either / Or

You may be thinking, wait a minute. My advertising is working. I’m not going to give it up. You’re right, you shouldn’t give up somethings that working, but can you afford not to be in the space that the whole world is moving into? Internet marketing is exploding because internet usage is exploding. More and more people are using search engines and social media to find business products and services. If you are not in the internet space and you’re not already at a competitive disadvantage, it’s likely that you will be soon.

At a minimum, isn’t it time you assessed your small business SEO investment? Contact me at 386-295-2049 if you’d like to know more.

The Elements of Local SEO

Local SEO Image

Local SEO Image

Local SEO will be the primary source of search engine traffic for many small businesses. When we talk about local SEO, two distinctions are important. First, you are local if you are selling to the local community. Think of a hardware store or beauty salon. Second, you are local if you are selling some tangible property both to locals and out of area people. Think real estate, classic cars, boats and so on.

The elements of a local SEO campaign are fairly basic, but can get more complex depending on the business. We recommend all local small businesses have a website with a domain name that they own. Do not put your main site on free hosting of any kind. The major elements of local SEO are:

  • Website
  • Blog
  • SEO Content
  • Links
  • Google Places
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Website

The first major element must be your website. The website should be designed to reflect your business. Remember, your website will be the first impression for your business when visitors come to the site. You want them to be impressed enough to stay awhile. Ask the hard questions, why would a visitor want to come to my site and why would they want to stay? Make sure your site answers the question. The website is the primary elements of your website.

Your Blog

The next element is a blog. We recommend WordPress for building both your website and your blog. A professional template will also take care of design. Use static pages for your website and posts for your blog entries. Blog entries will rank in the search engines on their own, but they will also allow you to send links to your pages and other posts. Your blog can be part of the website or stand-alone. It’s easier if it’s part of the main site, but if you have an existing website, it may sense to create a new domain and host the blog there.

SEO Content

In many cases, you will be concentrating on geographic keyword targeting. Simply this means, Marion CPA and Accounting, rather than CPA and Accounting. Many local searches are geographically targeted. All the services and products that you offer should be targeted using your local community or communities. Towns, cities, neighborhood names and so on should be targeted. Use the town and the state too. Make sure that your pages and posts are titled using these geo targeted keywords.

Not all local businesses will use geo targeting, but if you are serving the local community, geo targeting is absolutely critical. Create lots of pages and posts about your products and services.

Links

80% of competitive keyword rankings come from off page SEO factors and links are what that 80% is all about. More competition means more external links to your pages. Links with anchor texts for your chosen keywords act as votes for that page. You may need a few links or a few hundred links to push your page to the top of the listings. Link building is critical you must learn to build links or find someone who can do it for you. Check out Off Page SEO Factors for more on link building.

Google Places

If you have a local address where you do business, you must be on Google places. These are the listings that are showing at the top of local Google search results pages with the flag and a Google Map. You can see it here for San Diego Florist. In some markets the competition will be low and just signing up through your Google account will be enough. In other markets, competition for the seven listed positions will be tough and you will need expert assistance. Regardless, this is the easiest way to get to the top of the listings.

Google Places Example

Facebook

Facebook is growing and more people join everyday, but it’s not for every business. My take for now is that a Facebook page (your business page, not your personal page) is more informational and supporting for most local small businesses – with a few exceptions. Those exceptions are businesses like bars, clubs and restaurants that have live entertainment and events. You customers will be happy to know that you are offering updates and more information on the acts and events. If you have a constantly changing mix of products, make your announcements in both your blog and Facebook. Offering coupons on Facebook will keep people coming back.

Note: If you’re not going to regularly engage with your Facebook followers, don’t start the effort. It will disappoint and alienate people.

Twitter

Open a account on Twitter just for your business. Twitter is like a carnival barker standing in cyberspace announcing things about your business. It can be a source of customers and followers if you offer them Twitter only deals, limited time deals and so on. Twitter can also be used to announce specials on your Facebook page or on your website. Twitter coupon codes can also work. Tweet things relevant to your business, not too much about you personally. Yes, people like to get to know you, but they don’t want to know what you’re doing unless it’s about your business topic.

Summary

Sometimes, local SEO can be accomplished with just a website with good content and a few good backlinks from other sites. It can also demand additional effort and investment if competition is high. Local SEO is no longer optional. More and more customers are finding local businesses through search engines. Make sure you’re where you need to be. Contact Mike at 386-295-2049 to discuss your options. I’m a Daytona Beach SEO specialist, but I serve the world.