Aiming for Perfect On Page Search Engine Optimisation

Those of you that have been researching or running SEO will no doubt have come across ‘TheHoth’, a very useful site that provides all sorts of information and services, whilst also running a very good blog.

Their latest post is all about ‘On Page Search Engine Optimisation’. It covers a lot of the ground that has been ‘well trodden’ over the past few months, but is nevertheless, a useful read.:-

The cover what they define as the top 3 Steps to getting On Page SEO right:-

  • Keyword Research
  • Optimising the Titles, Description, and H1 (Header tags)
  • Not stuffing the pages with the target keywords

There are other issues that are connected, such as using ALT tags for images and using ‘descriptive URLs’ for both file and image names (i.e ‘picture-of-dog.jpg’ rather than ‘image001.jpg’), plus of course ‘technical SEO’ issues like the speed the site downloads and ‘geographically tagging’ images (very useful for Local SEO).

Getting Keyword Research Right

This is an essential part of any SEO project, you simply cannot guess what people are using to find the sort of service or product you are selling. Even if you did guess correctly, without other research into the ‘power’ of the sites you are competing against (and you can bet your last pound that you will have lots of competition) you could well select keyword phrases that you can just not get a  good rank for, the competition simply out gunning you.

In their blog, TheHoth, point out the value of using SEMRush (this now being added to their services). I can only agree with them about this tool, it providing a host of information about what keywords are being used, together with an idea of how often they are used and the competition levels. Also, and this is VERY important, it allows you to see what your competition is being found for, this being especially useful for Local SEO.

But, there is another set of tools that you should also know about, these being provided by Mangools ( Their suite of tools is most useful indeed, covering not only Keyword Research (with a lot of information about the power of the competition included), but also data on the strength of sites too. All very useful and well worth a look if you are looking to carry out SEO on your own site.

Some Interesting SEO Tools

Some Interesting SEO Tools

Optimising Your Titles, Description and Header Tags for SEO

If you want a page to be ranked for a certain phrase, then you simply MUST ensure that the Title contains some relevant words (normally the phrase that you are targeting). There is some debate as to whether this needs to be in the form of a sentence, or whether you can use the keywords as they are, separating them with a pipe symbol | . Either seem to work, but it is possible that the sentence version could increase conversion rates (from being listed in SERPS to getting a click).

As with everything in the SEO World, you should not use your target words too many times in the Title, and it is best to keep to about 70 characters, even though Google, for example will read / index many more.

On a side note, I am AMAZED at the number of sites that do not use these areas of a page ‘correctly’. This seems to be madness to me, as they are quite simply denying themselves lots of free, targeted traffic….


The Meta Description

TheHoth goes on to mention that you should then make sure your Description is completed, but don’t tell you that the Meta Description is not used that much for SEO (as the words within it are not taken into account in the same way as the Title or Body copy). The main thing to do here is to NOT REPEAT the same Meta Description throughout the site as this looks ‘lazy’ and can reduce the overall ‘Quality Score’ for the domain (this being a different ‘Quality Score’ to that used in Google’s Adwords system).

The other thing that TheHoth says, is that you should not repeat the keywords in the Description. I am not sure of that, although of course, you should not ‘stuff’ this area either.

The Real Purpose of the Meta Description Tag

By the way, the real purpose of the Description text is to act as the ‘elevator speech’ for a page, the idea being to get the viewer to click the link when it is displayed in the Search Engine Results.

The Header Tags

Looking at TheHoth’s article we see that they mention the importance of the H1 tag. Again this is an area of contention, as I have seen many pages performing very well with no H1’s, or with tags that do not use any of the target keywords (or anything like them).

However, I agree that it is best practice to use H1’s (and only one per page), whilst also using H2’s down to H6 in a cascading manner, as best fits the way the copy is divided up.

They also point out that you could over-optimise a page by using the target Keywords in the H1. Again I am not sure that this is totally true, as I have seen that work too. I feel that the best approach is to write the copy, some Good Solid, Useful Copy and then add Headers that look ‘right’, all the while making sure that you do not ‘over-cook’ the area of keyword usage.

Variations of Target Words

This is where the use of variations (synonyms) of the target words come into play, and it pays to use them throughout the site’s pages, especially in the body copy, for the simple reason that Google ‘likes it’. It is therefore reasonable to also use these variations in the Title / Description and Headers, if it looks OK.

This leads nicely on the third area that TheHoth covers, that of Keyword Density.

Keyword Stuffing and The Use of Synonyms

In the old days of SEO, you could quite happily repeat your target keyphrases again and again and again, and the Search Engines would reward your site with lots of top ranks. However, in the game of cat and mouse that SEO is, things have changed quite dramatically in this area, now of course repeating your keyphrases has dire results…

This change, like the majority, has been made with one aim in mind, that of increasing the quality of the pages listed for any given phrase, in the Search Engine Results. The other reasons are because there were many SEO’s who were gaming the system and skewing the results, which was something that Google was not prepared to put up with.

Hence the many changes to how pages are ranked – this including Off Page SEO, which is another topic.

The problem Google had (has) is how to calculate quality, especially when copy / an article that is deemed great by one, is thought of as rubbish by another. This being made even more difficult when a computer is being used to score pages, after all, ‘English’ is not exactly the first language of a Computer….

To this end, Google (being the front runner here) built a sort of Artificial Intelligence into its algorithm, its job being to deduce the real ‘meaning’ of a page from the words on the page. Here it was not looking from the angle of ‘what keyphrases’ does this page target, but rather ‘what is the page talking about as a whole’. To this end it was trained to look for words that are associated with each other, so that for example, a page that uses the words ‘cat’, ‘feline’, ‘kitten’, ‘purr’, ‘pet’ and ‘bed’ would automatically be associated with the phrase ‘cat beds’, in a stronger way than a page that just used the words ‘cat beds’ would be.

How to Deduce What Synonyms to Use

One way is to spend your life looking at a Thesaurus, but the perhaps the best way is to examine the words used on the pages that Google is known to like (we can tell because they are ranked well for any given phrase). The list that is created from such research can then be used in the copy in the knowledge that they must be relevant to some degree. This is the way that Serendipity Online Marketing goes about the matter of copy creation and it has been seen to work.

Long Tail Keywords

Any site gets a huge percentage of its non Brand traffic from what are called ‘long tail keywords’, these being phrases using 3 or more words. Often these phrases are not used very often, which in turn means that they do not appear on the ‘SEMRush radar’ and thus cannot be directly targeted.

Instead, what you have to do is to write the copy with a view to providing information to the reader, copy, which if it is good enough, WILL be associated with many of the relevant long tail keyword searches made, whether or not they actually use the words in question.

There Is More of Course

TheHoth’s article finishes at this point, but there is of course a lot more too why pages are ranked and why they are not. This includes Off Page SEO, and this is an area that cannot be ignored, as a page which uses the very best of copy, placed on a site that uses the Titles, Descriptions and Headers to full effect, is more than likely to be beaten to the top spots by other pages, simply because they have more links…

This is one reason why Keyword Research is so important, as when selecting the target words, it is vital, especially for a new domain, to select the possible, rather than the impossible.


About the author

Graham Baylis was born in 1957 and has therefore seen the birth of the Internet and experienced at first hand, just how it has changed the World we live in. He has been involved with computers since 1983 and helped set up the first electronic mail system used by the Civil Service in 1986. He has gained several qualifications in Computing and Marketing and has written hundreds of blogs which you can find around the web, many being on customer’s websites. He has over 19 years of experience with Pay Per Click and SEO and has an answer for most Search Marketing questions, and, for those that he hasn’t is quick to find one. Continually coming up with solutions, Graham is one person it is worth having a chat with.

Local SEO – The way forward for many small local companies

Local SEO – The way forward for many small local companies

Local SEO

Local SEO is crucial in 2018


Why Local SEO is becoming so important?

The fact of the matter is that things are changing because of one thing, the growth of the use of Mobile Devices, especially Smartphones to access the Internet. The figures are quite startling when you look at them, from 41% in 2016 to over 61% in 2017.

Smartphones and Internet Search

How People use Smartphones to Search the Internet

When you then consider that most smartphone searches are related to immediate / local needs you can see why appearing on that Google Search screen has become more important, YOU NEED TO BE THERE to get that all important click (and the business that comes with it).

You also have to consider that when you search on a Smartphone you automatically get local results (Google after all knows where you are) instead of having to ‘manually signal’ i.e. use a geographic term along with the search phrase (i.e ‘Security companies Hereford’ rather  than just ‘security companies’. The latter, when used on a Smartphone automatically giving you local results for Hereford (as long as of course  you are in Hereford at the time of the search).


So What Makes Google Choose One Site Over Another?

The first thing to remember is that Google uses different signals to decide who to list in the Local SEO (the map section at the top of listings that is often shown) than the standard Organic Listings.

The Six Local Pack Ranking Factors

  • Proximity of the address used in your Google My Business (GMB) listing
  • The quality of the GMB listing, photographs, details of services etc
  • The linking structure for the website mentioned in the GMB listing
  • The On Page SEO of the website mentioned in the GMB listing
  • The number of Citations for the website mentioned in the GMB listing
  • The number of Reviews the GMB has recevied

Local SEO and Organic SEO have similarities

As you can see, it is IMPORTANT to ensure that your website is properly optimised, as many of the factors used in Local SEO are also used in the normal Organic listings. It is of course possible to get a listing in the so called 3 pack without having a website, but you are far more likely to get a position if you have a high quality optimised site linked too from your GMB listing.

How to get a Place in the 3 Pack?

Obviously the first thing you need is a Google My Business listing. You may well find that one does exist already, in which case you need to ‘claim it’ a process that can sometimes be carried out by phone, whilst in other cases Google will send you an email or a postcard.

If you don’t have a listing to claim the you must  first log onto your Google account and then vistit, following the process laid out there.

Whichever process is used, you will eventually end up with a GMB listing that you can edit.

Are you listed already and if not who is?

You may also want to check to see if you are, for some reason already listed in the 3 pack, or maybe you want to find out who is. The best way of doing this is to use the Google Adwords tool, this can be found at

3 Pack Listing Checking Tool

See if your business is already listed in the 3 Pack


3 Pack Listing for Caple Security

3 Pack Listing for Caple Security

Editing your Google My Business Listing

The first thing to do is to remember to keep to the rules, these being available at

Another set of interesting information can be found at

What to include in your GMB listing

  • At least 5 photographs are needed, it also being important to ‘GeoTag’ them (this telling Google they are relevant to a certain location). This is an easy enough process, see for more information.
  • Provide as much information as you can about the services you offer and your times of operation / opening.

Getting Citations and Reviews

As mentioned above, having a correctly optimised website is a key requirement to getting a 3 Pack listing, but that is a separate matter (and you can find a lot about ‘search engine optimisation’ elsewhere in this blog, so please do have a look about), this post will just cover the important area of Citations and Reviews.

Of the two, Citations are the most important, it being very possible to get a 3 pack listing with no reviews at all.

If you already have a GMB listing that is not listed in the 3 Pack AND have a fully optimised site, then this is more than likely being caused by having too few Citations, or by the fact that the ones you have are ‘confusing’ Google. This is often caused by the fact that the Citations are using different variations of your business name, address of phone number. Sometimes this is just human error, in other cases it is because your business has moved address or changed the phone number.

Whatever the reasons, having citations that all use different Names, Addresses or Phone numbers (the three together being known by the acronym NAP) can be a real killer to your chances of getting a place, so the first thing to do is to check on what citations you do have and ‘clean them up’.

If you don’t have any then fine, you can start building them up, but ALWAYS ensure that you use EXACTLY the same information on ALL of the citations you create.

Don’t forget Press Releases

Online Press Releases are also a way of helping things along, so please also consider posting these as many times as you can.

Local SEO also helps in getting business if you are not in the 3 Pack.

In some cases, you simply won’t be able to get a 3 Pack listing in the town / city you want, this for the very good reason that your office (as in the GMB listing) is not close enough to the centre of the city / town for Google to consider you as being ‘local enough for a 3 Pack placement.

One way around this is to create a ‘virtual’ office in the town that you wish to target, and whilst this, if done properly can work, it is fraught with dangers (i.e. getting your business thrown off ALL 3 Pack listings). It is therefore better to make sure that your website is fully optimised for ‘Local Searches’ as that way, although you cannot get a 3 pack listing, you can get an Organic listing.

As some if the results in Google don’t have a 3 Pack to get listed in in the first place, this is really a great way to go. See below for our customers No.1 listing, one of many too.


Local SEO outside the 3 Pack

Local SEO outside the 3 Pack


I do hope that this has provided you with some useful information and please do contact us if you want more information or help with your Local SEO / 3 Pack problems. We are here to help!

SEO Ho Ho – Search Engine Optimisation in 2016 – Xmas Message

The year is nearly at an end and Xmas has been and gone, but there is still a lot of cheer in the air and pleasant memories of all the festivities to boot (amongst them our company Xmas card – see the image below) which went down very well with our customers).


But there are other reasons to be grateful about 2016, in that in my view Google has made some really good moves to make the results fairer and more accurate, the latest Penguin update really sorting things out.

This has been somewhat of a relief to SOM as we have been ‘preaching’ what we call ‘Proper’, ‘Scientific’ SEO. What we mean by this is that we research the words that people are searching for in a market area, find the words that Google ‘wants to see’ for these phrases so that they can be incorporated in to the copy. Then we add some relevant links (with a natural anchor text and source type mix) and he presto , things start to happen.

The best part of this is that it is all totally ‘Google legal’  and can never in our view be subject to any penalties that Google may dream up at some time. We can say this as all we are trying to do is to make sure that any site we optimise offers some of the best information there is on a given subject, and of course we make sure that there are enough links to the site’s pages so that Google thinks the same. We call this link building programme ‘priming the pump’ as once the site gets traffic, the links will start building organically. Link building is still required in many cases, but perhaps, only because others are trying to get their sites rankings higher too…

As to the blog post we have included below, we certainly agree about the rise of AI and believe that Google searchers have for some time been ‘rats in the Google maze’, in that they have been analysing what we click on and what sites we like, thus getting closer and closer their goal of truly understanding the real intent behind a given search term.

The other interesting thing raised here is the increased importance that mobile search is being given these days, not really surprising when you realise that people are accessing the web using mobile devices more and more these days.

For 2017 we see it as more of the same, Google getting cleverer and cleverer at spotting the good sites (the ones that deserve rankings) from the ones that don’t, all of which means you just have to ‘Do SEO properly’ or suffer the consequences…

To see the full article on SEO in 2016 and some predictions for 2017 please click the link.

What we’ve learned about SEO in 2016?

Since the inception of the search engine, SEO has been an important, yet often misunderstood industry. For some, these three little letters bring massive pain and frustration. For others, SEO has saved their business. One thing is for sure: having a clear and strategic search strategy is what often separates those who succeed from those who don’t.

As we wrap up 2016, let’s take a look at how the industry has grown and shifted over the past year, and then look ahead to 2017.

A growing industry

It was only a few years ago when the internet was pummeled with thousands of “SEO is Dead” posts. Well, here we are, and the industry is still as alive as ever. SEO’s reputation has grown over the past few years, due in great part to the awesome work of the real pros out there. Today, the industry is worth more than $65 billion. Companies large and small are seeing how a good search strategy has the power to change their business.

As search engines and users continue to evolve, SEO is no longer just an added service brought to you by freelance web designers. With the amount of data, knowledge, tools and experience out there, SEO has become a power industry all on its own.

Over the course of the year, my agency alone has earned a number of new contracts from other agencies that are no longer able to provide their own search efforts. A large divide between those that can deliver SEO and those that can’t is beginning to open up across the board.

The rise of AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) is now prevalent in many of our lives. Google, IBM, Amazon and Apple are very active in developing and using Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI). ANI can be used to automate repetitive tasks, like looking up product details, shipping dates and order histories and performing countless other customer requests.

The consumer is becoming more and more comfortable with this technology and has even grown to trust its results. Sundar Pichai, Google CEO, announced during his Google I/O keynote that 20 percent of queries on its mobile app and on Android devices are voice searches.

RankBrain, Google’s machine-learning artificial intelligence system, is now among the top three ranking signals for Google’s search algorithm. Why? Google handles more than 3.5 billion searches per a day, and 16 to 20 percent of those are unique queries that have never been searched before. To handle this, the team at Google has harnessed the power of machine learning to help deliver better results.

While we can’t “control” RankBrain, what we can do is learn more about how Google is using it and then help the tool by creating good content that earns shares and links, building connections with others in our niche or related niches, and building trust in very targeted topics.

We are still in the beginning stages of this technology, but as more and more homes become equipped with smart tools like Amazon Echo and Google Home, we can be sure that these tech giants will use the knowledge they gain from voice search to power their AI technology.

The “Google Dance”

Every so often, Google likes to surprise us with a major algorithm update that has a significant impact on search results — some years we get one, and other years we get a little more.
While they do make nearly 500 tweaks to the algorithm each year, some are big enough to garner more attention. Let’s look back at four of 2016’s most memorable updates.

Mobile-friendly algorithm boost

A little under a year after “Mobilegeddon,” an event marked by the launch of Google’s mobile-friendly ranking algorithm, the search giant announced that it would soon be increasing the effects of this algorithm to further benefit mobile-friendly sites on mobile search. That boost rolled out on May 12, 2016, though the impact was not nearly as significant as when the mobile-friendly ranking algorithm initially launched.

Penguin 4.0

While this ended up being a two-phase rollout, Penguin 4.0 made its entrance on September 23, 2016. This has been considered the “gentler” Penguin algorithm, which devalues bad links instead of penalizing sites. The second phase of Penguin 4.0 was the recovery period, in which sites impacted by previous Penguin updates began to finally see a recovery — assuming steps were taken to help clean up their link profiles.


While this update was never confirmed by Google, the local SEO community noted a major shake-up in local pack and Google Maps results in early September 2016.

Fellow Search Engine Land columnist Joy Hawkins noted that this was quite possibly the largest update seen in in the local SEO world since Pigeon was released in 2014. Based on her findings, she believes the update’s goal was “to diversify the local results and also prevent spam from ranking as well.”
Divided index

As mobile search continues to account for more and more of the global share of search queries, Google is increasingly taking steps to become a mobile-first company. In November, Google announced that it was experimenting with using a mobile-first index, meaning that the mobile version of a website would be considered the “default” version for ranking purposes instead of the desktop version:

“To make our results more useful, we’ve begun experiments to make our index mobile-first. Although our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results.”

The time to say goodbye to 2016 is fast approaching, and I am truly excited to see what 2017 has in store for the world of SEO!

Not All Businesses Are Destined For Globalisation, Local Search Is More Appropriate

There are lots of business owners who dream of growing their small local business into a worldwide giant with outlets in all the major cities around the globe. Whilst this is not really a realistic option for most SMEs, every business has to start somewhere even if that somewhere is a bit of space for a home office in the dining room.

Obtaining a high quality website is usually an important step for the business as this is the start of its online presence. It can feel like the start of globalisation for the business owner even though in reality, most of their turnover comes from local custom. It is important to remember that actually that local trade is very important so making sure that anyone looking for the goods you sell or the services you offer are easily found by those searching in your area.

Always make sure that your business website is listed in directories such as Google Places, Yell and so on. Any directory that offers a map is going to be useful because when the searcher clicks on the results, a map will be shown and they will be able to find your premises. These days, many people do searches using their mobile phones so they can easily navigate to your business using the map. So if you own a pet supplies shop and someone is looking for a dog bowl, they can type in ‘buy dog bowl in Townsville’, your business should appear in the listings complete with directions.

Targeting local keywords will really help with local trade, so having your chosen keywords alongside the name of the town or region is key to success. People will often type in local keywords when they are searching for particular goods or services in their local area. So, the pet supplies business will have many products and services on offer which could be being searched for by potential customers. Terms such as cat treats Townsville, Bloggs Pet Supplies Townsville, flea treatments Townsville and so on could very easily rank highly in the search engines which in turn means an increase in local trade.

So, taking into account the type of business, it is possible for Bloggs Pet Supplies to become a global player but it is more likely that it will remain a small or medium sized business with 1 or more stores in the region. It may grow to the point where it is nationwide however, as most of its clientele are going to be local customers, it would be prudent to target marketing efforts on the local area rather than going global. It is up to the business and its advisors to decide whether going global is going to be beneficial and whether it is even going to be worth the investment to try.


Search engines have been working hard on fine-tuning their algorithms to provide high quality search results based on location.

Google is the best covered in the industry, with its Pigeon update launching in July 2014 and rolling out to UK, Canada and Australia in December. Use the links if you want to learn more about the update.

It’s one thing to know that local search is important and can affect your SERPs presence but it’s another entirely to know how to ‘do’ local SEO effectively.

Having spent some time researching, then actually implementing most of the core local SEO tactics for a few websites, I thought I’d share my thoughts on the top 10 things you can and should be doing, in order of priority (please note – my priority order, I’m not claiming it as a definitive best practice statement).

You’ll notice that this blog is geared towards organisations with local offices/stores, rather than pureplay online stores servicing a local area.

This is because a significant chunk of local search is people looking for places near to them, whether that’s to buy products or enjoy local services, and many of the effective online SEO tactics are focused on physical stores.

The search engines have also invested in tools to allow you to set-up local business listings to improve search visibility for stores.

Here’s my top 10…..

1. Create a unique landing page for each store

A unique store page can be optimised to provide content that is relevant to local customers and targeted at local keyword searches.

Start by thinking about your customers; what information are they likely to need for your store? A good store page should include:

  • Address and phone number (in a standardised NAP format).
  • Additional contact details e.g. email, contact form, social media icons.
  • Map and directions (embedding a Google Map is a popular option).
  • Opening times.
  • High quality photos of the store.
  • Store services provided.
  • Calendar of events (if relevant).
  • In-store promotions and offers.

From a pure SEO point of view, each page needs an optimised:

  • URL e.g. /stores/store-name rather than just a numerical store code like /stores/1234
  • Page title
  • H1
  • Meta description
  • markup
  • Canonical tag (in case there are any filters that could generated duplicate content)

Please note this list isn’t exhaustive as there are lots of SEO considerations but the above is the minimum to cater for. Below is a good example from Selfridges, although the meta data could be better optimised e.g. the H1 for each store page is ‘Our Stores’ which has no reference to location.


2. Add a business listing for each store

You can add your business to Google and Bing free of charge using the simple online set-up forms. Make sure you verify each listing, a small but important detail.

It’s advisable to create a business Google and Microsoft account to do this rather than creating the listing from a personal account. This is especially important for Google when you start linking other Google properties like Google+ pages and YouTube channels.

It’s important to add optimised content for the store listing, so think carefully about the business name, category and description.

You want the business page to be found for relevant searches but you also want the business listing to appeal to potential customers.

The advantage of a verified business listing is greater SERPs dominance for brand searches, which can increase CTR. Below is an example of a startup I helped to build out its local SEO, showing Google results for a brand search.

You’ll notice the reviews showing in the knowledge graph area, see 4. below for more info on the benefits. This is really important for SMEs where the business isn’t established

Click the link to continue reading:

Use Local SEO To Boost Your Business

Having a website means that your goods and services can be bought from anywhere in the world but, are you missing out on the local market? Your local area could be a great untapped source of income for your business and if you are not advertising locally, you could be missing out. A lot of people like to use local businesses particularly if they can collect the goods that they want to purchase the same day or they could just be looking for a particular type of food prepared in your restaurant. So make sure that your business is accessible to this group of potential customers and remember that most people now use smartphones to find businesses. There are many ways to promote your business locally and you need not spend a lot of your advertising budget to do this, there are a lot of free services that you can use, all you need to do is fill in the online forms and if you are doing this, do be careful to fill in all the details correctly. Be sure to provide a map on your website so that customers can find you easily, this is particularly important if your business is located in a large business park or a rural area or is difficult to find without directions. Make it easy for customers to buy from you or they will go elsewhere.

Local SEO is vital if you want your business to be found in the search results when consumers are actively seeking the products/services that your business sells/provides. Top search rankings are responsible for keeping your phone ringing and local consumers walking through your doors. A solid local SEO plan helps ensure that your target consumer can find your business when they perform a local search.

Your on-page factors along with social signals, inbound links, NAP (name, address and phone) listings, and local listings all contribute to your website ranking in the local search results. Improving your position in the local results can drastically improve your website traffic, resulting in more sales and revenue for your business. The following eight tips can help you to improve your local SEO effort.

1. Make sure your local listings are all correct.

You should have a Google+ Business page, Bing Places for Business, and a Yahoo Local page set up. These are the listings that show up at the top of the local search results, so it is important that your business is listed with each in order to have a chance to show up in the local search results. Fill out each profile completely and make sure that your business name, address, and phone number is exactly how it appears on the contact page of your website.

2. Check for duplicate local listings.

It is very possible that you have duplicate local listings out there and you will want to perform a quick audit to check. If you do locate duplicate listings you will want to delete them. There are many services to help you with your local listing management. Our favorite is Moz Local because it is so simple to use and it is extremely affordable.

Further information

What is local SEO and why do you need it?

SEO for local businesses

Not every business wants to be a multi-national, some want to offer their goods and services to a more local audience and as such, the way they run their online campaigns will be slightly different. For these businesses, having websites that can be viewed from mobile devices is essential as often, people looking for them will be using their mobile phone or tablet. Making use of local directories, local review sites, social media and local business group sites such as Chamber of Commerce, are great for getting a business known in a particular area or community. Using long-tail keywords using local geographical terms will help with the search engine listings as well. Video can be particularly useful and as many people view these from their mobiles and then share them with their friends, this is an area that should not be ignored.

Here’s a local search optimization tactic that is a staple in the repertoire of many professional SEOs: YouTube Optimization. It’s particularly effective in local search since relatively few businesses have created and published video promotions for themselves.

Before launching into the technical tips for optimizing your YouTube videos for local search, it’s worthwhile to mention the content itself. While my tips below will provide benefit somewhat independently of whatever the video is actually about, all benefit derived from the work will be magnified if the video is compelling. So, subject matter and the way it is conveyed are of primary importance. I don’t mention “quality” (although that can contribute) because there are many videos of poor production quality or low resolution that are extremely popular. The subject matter of a video and the way it’s conveyed — its “interestingness” — are more likely to determine whether people will watch it, whether they’ll watch all the way through, and whether they’ll share it with friends.

YouTube Local SEO

Some businesses simply make an ad about themselves when they do a video. While these can be informative for prospective customers, they are typically not all that imaginative (and usually not as effective as less overtly promotional videos).

A better approach would be to publish a series of brief videos over time about aspects of your industry, its products, and its services. Provide how-to videos that demonstrate how to do what you do. Obviously, if you sell a service, you won’t make money off of do-it-yourselfers, but these videos are typically more popular and will therefore convey more ranking potential to your business. They can also serve to establish you as an expert — and sometimes, when you show what’s involved in what you do, it will persuade people to pay to have it done.

Other types of videos can teach consumers about how to select the sorts of products you sell, or tell them how to discern qualities about services offered. These “public service” sorts of videos may train consumers in how to be more discerning and, in the process, train them to choose you instead of your competition. Click here to continue

Further information

5 simple steps to improve your local SEO

2013 local search ranking factors

Local SEO tips for small businesses post Panda/Penguin


Do not neglect your local audience when doing your SEO

Many small to medium sized businesses rely on local trade and as such, it is so very important not to neglect marketing to the local audience. Obviously, there will be businesses that can only service locals and those will almost exclusively spend their marketing budget on the local area. Others however, are able to offer services to a wider audience and whilst this may be an essential part of the long term strategy, ensuring the locally based clientele are kept informed of goods and services offered by the firm can be key to securing a sound foundation for the business. Ensuring that there has been sufficient SEO done on the site that includes the local area is a must and making use of all the search engine tools can really help promote your business as well. Much depends upon the type of business you are operating but making the most of the technology and the opportunities that it can give rise to, can give you a real boost particularly for those using mobile searches.

The vast majority of local businesses out there – even those heavily invested in digital and mobile marketing – are constantly looking for insights on how they can improve their placements in Google’s search engine results.

While there’s plenty of advice available on specific tactics ranging from leveraging keywords and linking to boosting reviews and Facebook likes, most business owners struggle with how to prioritize their local marketing budgets to improve their rankings, while avoiding unintentional negative hits to their search visibility.

David Mihm at Moz, a marketing analytics firm, pulls together the valuable “Local Search Ranking Factors” survey each year to help to demystify local SEO rankings by honing in on the insights of 35 local marketing experts. Participants evaluate the influence of key ranking factors and prioritize specific ones that they believe contribute to local SEO rankings.

Released earlier this month, this year’s results provide a strong blueprint for businesses – both new entrants and those already established in the local search space – on how to allocate their limited marketing budgets to generate greater visibility for their brand and one-up their competitors.

Where To Prioritize Local Marketing Efforts

The first section of the survey asked participants to identify the importance of eight thematic clusters of ranking factors across three primary types of local search results – localized organic search, pack/carousel search and maps search – for both desktop and mobile searches.

Participants were asked to assign a percentage of influence to all eight clusters, adding up to 100%, to measure those areas with the greatest impact for local businesses planning their digital and mobile efforts.


Image courtesy of used with permission

Image courtesy of used with permission

Click here to read on

Further information

Why Google+ and Google Local are important to your local SEO

5 step checklist for reviewing your local SEO campaign


Making the most of your SEO

Making the most of your website is what all businesses strive for so it is important that you have good SEO implemented. There are many ways of using SEO to boost your site’s ratings with the search engines but it must be done correctly and within the rules.

One of the biggest challenges for any business, not just in the SEO sector, is being able to accurately forecast and measure the size of their market opportunity.

For decades successful businesses have been built, grown, and acquired, partly based on their ability to measure opportunity and work toward attainable forecasts.

Now, not every forecast is 100 percent accurate and that is certainly not the subject of my post today. Developing a discipline of forecasting and using that information to focus on the most attractive value opportunities in the competitive field of SEO puts you, as an agency, independent specialist, or brand ahead of your business competition.

My last post offered some ideas on how to measure ‘Share of Voice’ in order to get ahead of the competition. Now let’s go one step further, talking about search opportunity forecasting and explaining why estimating the future value of SEO matters.

We are in an industry that is 15 years old and growing rapidly. SEO is a $2.2 billion industry, according to the Forrester US Interactive Marketing Forecast 2011 to 2016. Hence, if you want people to think of SEO as the critical business function that it is, then it’s only logical to treat it like one. Click to continue reading.

Further reading

Local SEO: Reviews and recommendations

Utilizing SEO to improve your online ranking

Making time to execute your SEO campaign

Google disavow tool: effects, implications and theories


A few ideas to keep your online business presence

If your business has an online presence, there are a few things you can do to ensure your website is working properly and that visitors turn into clients.

One of the best things about online advertising is that you can track it. It is important to be able to find out how many clicks you are getting, which page they are landing on and then what pages are being visited. You will be able to see if there are any patterns evolving once visitors arrive. If you do not know what is going on, how will you know if your advertising strategy is working?

If you run a small business, there is a high probability that most of your customers are based locally. If this is the case, you must ensure that your online marketing strategy is targeting your business to the local area. By targeting the local audience, you will not only save a bit of money but you will capture potential new customers in your locality. Make sure your website is properly optimized for conversions, if it’s not, you could really lose out on a lot of business. It is one thing attracting visitors, it is quite another converting them, so you must make considerable efforts to get those conversions.

Always make sure that your contact information is prominently displayed and easy to find. See to it that your website has a clear call to action, such as contacting you or filling out a form. Take a good look at your website to see that the most important information is clearly visible and that visitors do not have to scroll down or click through endless pages to find what they are looking for.

It may seem very obvious, but take a look at your customer service. It is the one thing that really influences customers and if you have poor customer service, word soon gets round. The internet is one of the best and worst ways of creating a reputation. News spreads fast, so if your customer service is less than perfect, do something about it so that your company’s reputation is kept intact. Find out what people are saying about your business online, contact satisfied customers to share reviews about your business online.

Google make changes to results in the USA – Is it bad news?

Just picked up this story from the lads and lasses that check out what people are Tweeting about and it makes interesting, but perhaps disquieting news. The article that sparked the Tweets appeared in the Guardian on the 11th Jan and cover the way that Google has altered the results (some say ‘warped’) by incorporating (and giving favour too) data from its  Google+ network.

These changes have only been made in the USA so far and only work when the user is logged in, but it has annoyed many as it may have the effect of making existing Google+ users more likely to use it as they will be more in control of the data they see (this being based to some degree on their own circle of friends and interests as per their Google+ profile and history).

Twitters lead lawyer, Alex Machgillivray was quoted as saying is was a “bad day for teh internet”, which shows how worried / annoyed some people are getting…

Google however have not been silent on the matter either,  Amit Singhai of Google, introduced the changes, saying “We’re transforming Google into a search engine that understands not only content, but also people and relationships.” He also pointed out that there is a “toggle” that will let people see the results with and without ‘Google+ personalisation’.

No doubt the war of words will continue, with perhaps legal action in the USA as the fact that the anti trust laws may be being broken here has been mentioned.

As ever it will need to be kept an eye on as it may well start making getting rankings even more difficult and make the statement ‘Not everyone sees the same results when they type in a keyword phrase’ even truer….

Click the link for the full story on Google+ data used in their SERPs listings.