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5 ways to improve your small business rankings in Google for 2019

For many years, McKinney small businesses have understood the power of strong rankings in the search engines.

Indeed, achieving a strong page 1 ranking on Google can boost the number of customers for any business with an online presence.

But how exactly do you score a great ranking in Google?

With more and more small businesses in McKinney, TX turning to Digital Marketing, there is a growing need to understand the power of strong rankings in the search engines. The tactics have evolved from what they were just a few years ago. Let us outline 5 important strategies for small businesses trying to improve their exposure online.

Technical Onsite SEO

5 or 6 years ago, SEO was more of a technical exercise. Today this is still an important component of a small business SEO strategy. In fact, many of the same components are used. 

Overall, you will not rank for a keyword that is not physically on your website. We know this sounds obvious, but many small business owners don’t have strong content on their homepage, and can’t figure out why they don’t rank well.

Keywords needs to be strategically placed in the Title Tag and H1 Tag. If you don’t know what these are, learn them. It isn’t rocket science. This will also make you better able to communicate with your developer. Or if your website is on the WordPress platform, you can adjust these yourself with one of many SEO plugins available.

Having a website that looks good is important. Many people believe that Google is monitoring bounce rates and dwell times as indicators of user experience. An outdated website or one that is just confusing will repel users, and may hurt rankings. 

Ensure that your website is fast. Google explicitly tells us it does not like to rank slow websites. This hurts user experience, and rankings too.

Also build a mobile-friendly website. More and more users view websites on mobile devices. The latest stats available indicate that 58% of website traffic comes from a mobile device. Your business needs to be well represented on any digital device platform.

Google My Business 

Google presents a map for many keyword searches. They do this for keywords they believe to have local searcher intent, where seeing the business in a map is more helpful. The catch here is that Google is not presenting the business website itself, but rather the Google My Business page listing for that business.

Because of this dynamic, it is important that small business owners claim their business listing and ensure all the information is accurately updated. Business phone numbers, addresses, hours and other relevant information is critical. The way this information is entered in the Google database has been shown to impact rankings. 

Additionally, the number of times the phone number on file with Google My Business is seen by Google’s spiders around the internet has been identified as a ranking factor. These are known as citations, and sometimes NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number). To give your business an edge over the competition, post your NAP everywhere you can. There are also numerous services that can help you with this SEO process known as Directory Listing Services. Luce Media can submit your NAP to dozens of different directories and get you quickly ranking. Click here and scroll down to Online Visibility.

Strong Content

At Luce Media, we know that Google has a strong preference for long-form, well-researched content. For this reason, it pays to write very long blog posts on your website. However, the content needs to be informative and helpful for users.

Many small business owners claim they will have time to write blog posts themselves. However, after a month or two, they stop blogging (if they ever started in the first place). This is a critical mistake. If you can’t produce the blog yourself, hire a service to do it for you. Luce Media provides blog writing and content marketing in McKinney, TX.

Content published on the website needs to be visually appealing as well as well-written. This means many pictures and graphics – sometimes called visual assets. These visual assets should give the reader a visual representation of the main concepts of the blog post. This will help keep lazy readers engaged.

Many of the top bloggers recommend something visual to break up the words between every fold of the screen. This technique is strong because readers have something appealing to look at as they get tired of reading.

Backlinks

For many years, backlinks have been known to be a critical ingredient in search engine ranking success. This is no less true in 2019 than it was a few years ago. Great content will not rank without strong backlinks to the content from highly authoritative and relevant websites.

Backlinks are key to ranking higher in search engines.

Adam Stetzer, Ph.D. has been in the SEO business for 10 years and says: “Backlinks are one of the hardest concepts for small business owners to understand and execute. They understand on-site SEO and writing great content. They have a hard time committing to a great backlink building strategy because of the mathematical and conceptual nature of backlinks in the Google algorithm. Nonetheless, there are great places on the Internet to earn backlinks for free.” 

Search engine optimization experts generally agree that there are 2 major components of a backlink that determine if it will help you rank: Authority and Relevance. 

A backlink is considered to have authority if it comes from a domain with high Domain Rating or Domain Authority. These factors are easily queryable using free SEO analytic tools. In generally, you want a link from a high domain authority website. 

Furthermore, the backlink will help you more if it is on a specific page on that website that also has strong authority. Several years ago, Google started distinguishing which pages on a particular website were the strongest. This, again, is determined by how many backlinks are feeding into a specific page on a domain. So while a link from a high authority domain is good, a link placed on the strong web page on that domain (usually the home page) is the best.

The second criteria for a backlink is the relevance of that link. You want links from websites that are about the same subject matter as your website. If you are trying to rank a website about cars, a link from another automotive website would be much more valuable than a link from a foodie website.

How to weigh the relative importance of categorical relevance vs domain authority nobody can really answer except the engineers at Google. Most SEO’s go for relevance over authority. Both is ideal.

Relationships and Reputation

The final parts of the small business strategy are relationships and reputation. This is a very important part of any SEO strategy as negative reviews often rank very highly in Google. Additionally, the more relationships you have the stronger your ability to earn great mentions, reviews and backlinks.

Many small business owners overlook the idea that building relationships will help their online presence. Indeed, it feels old fashioned. However, human relationships are at the heart of all business, and it is humans that place great backlinks into powerful stories online. Understanding the importance of online reviews is critical for the business owner in McKinney, TX.

Small business owners need to be active in their communities, regularly attend meetups and maintain ties with those who can mention them online.

Conclusions 

Earning a top position for your small business in McKinney, TX on Google will bring in customers. Because these positions are so coveted, they are also extremely competitive. The 5 strategies outlined in this article represent an outstanding opportunity to move search engine rankings up and get the phone ringing.

This Post was originally Posted at: https://www.bmmagazine.co.uk/marketing/5-ways-to-improve-your-small-business-rankings-in-google/

5 SEO Steps for 2019

The 5 SEO Recommendations That Matter in 2019

Picture of the letters SEO standing for search engine optimization in McKinney

One of the biggest challenges in SEO is measuring impact — we know what matters (or doesn’t matter) until the rules of the game have changed. And when they do, we’re all scrambling to find a baseline again.  One of the most important elements about SEO is it helps you rank better on search engines.

Here are the five SEO recommendations that we’ve consistently seen make a positive impact in SEO’s ever-changing world.

1. Structured data matters

The short explanation of why structured data is helpful is that it tells crawlers (search engine bots) what there is within your page. If you are not familiar with this you can follow this helpful Structured Data guide to get you quickly up and running.

Structured data makes it faster and easier for crawlers from Google and other search engines to understand the information within each website page, making it a powerful (but often misused) tool. If applied correctly, it will make quite a positive impact on your pages.

2. Page freshness

Your page’s freshness is determined by multiple factors, but something as simple as having a date on a page is one of the easiest ways to indicate to Google how fresh your page is. This applies to blogs and news, but it’s also relevant for product pages related to dates, such as event sites.

If you think about page freshness from a user perspective, it’s easier to understand why it matters so much. When you obtain search results that have an old date, such as articles, depending on the subject, you might consider them less relevant than if they had a recent date. Search engines know this too and have the ability to differentiate between fresh and old content whether it has a date or not.

Another relatively easy task is to go through webpages and blog posts and make sure there are not OLD date references. Having done this for several clients we found after the update, we observed improved ranking on SERP (search engine results) results, which doubled impressions and CTR.

Page freshness matters for any industry, and while dates are helpful, your content freshness should always reflect and target what users are searching. Here are a few other things to consider if you think you may need to refresh your pages:

  • How often have you conducted keyword research in the last 18 months and updated your page’s content based on keywords results?
  • Are you featured on SERP results with dates and if so how old are these dates?
  • Luce Media’s Google Certified team can do this for you.

3. Internal linking (still matters)

The right balance of internal linking is never a straightforward answer. However, not having too many links on one page can make a positive impact.

For example, linking to all categories from your homepage could be the best user experience or the fastest way for crawlers to discover your pages but it will also impact the amount of equity the page is sending to all the pages it links to.

Balancing internal linking is definitely an important ranking factor because it will dictate how users and search engines discover your pages.

4. Title tags

Changing your title tags and finding out if they made a positive impact can be quite difficult to prove. We’ve tested this many times for clients in different industries, and changing a title has always changed (positively or negatively) the amount of sessions pages were getting.

How you change your title will depend on your page type, so there is no absolute rule on what to change a title to. Here are some ideas:

Include the year in the title, which also signals freshness. 

Here is an example I made up:

Original title: “Book a Trip to Hawaii Now | [brand name]”

Changed title: “Hawaii Trips 2019/2010 | Book Now | [brand name]”

Include the lowest product price of the page, for example:

Original title: “Cheap Flights to Hawaii – [brand name]”

Changed title: “Cheap Flight to Hawaii from $400 – [brand name]”

We also tested these following changes, which had a negative result in terms of the number of sessions:

  • Adding the number of products for sale on the page to the title tag
  • Adding emojis to the title tag

What you change your title to will depend on many factors, so a year or price might not help in your case. However, if some of your category pages have seasonal products or your industry competes heavily on prices, adding the year — or date, if applicable — or a price in the title could be quite beneficial.

5. Obtain backlinks

One thing that consistently helped our clients to obtain external links is creative pages — not shocking. These are usually interesting articles or campaigns related to the business, not commercial pages (pages that are just trying to sell something), and they end up obtaining quite a lot of coverage from different sources and, subsequently, external links.

Building successful creative pages are not easy and won’t guarantee that an increase in any specific amount of backlinks, but it’s one of the safest ways to obtain organic backlinks. The process can also be quite expensive for big pieces but we’ve also experienced a positive impact with more lightweight pieces on a smaller budget.

If your budget is on the modest side, you can still create a great piece. Here are a few tips to achieve that:

  • Think about the data you have collected and what insights it might have for users who do not have access to it: can you spot trends and patterns that could be interesting for a wider audience?
  • Surveys: you can certainly reach an audience to ask questions on a topic you want to create a piece of content for. If you can’t reach an audience for free, you can do this cheaply through paid surveys and collect your data this way.
  • Hire freelancers: there is a lot of great talent you can scout on sites like Upwork to help you create a visually enticing piece
  • Know your primary campaign goal
  • Do not expect short term — focus on the long term strategy
  • Measure results with multiple tools

Wrapping it up

If you’ve you been able to measure an impactful SEO change that consistently helped your clients, please share your experience in a comment below.

This was posted originally at: https://moz.com/blog/5-seo-recommendations

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Costly Mistakes That Sabotage A Business’s Local Search Presence (And How To Fix Them)

More customers are actively searching for small businesses online than ever before. Google processes over 3.5 billion search queries per day, over half of which take place on mobile devices. That’s a lot of on-the-go mobile shoppers looking for nearby stores. But that traffic is worthless to businesses that fail to optimize their local search.

Social Media for Small Business OwnersImproving your business’ online visibility and placement in search results is one key to attracting more local shoppers to both your website and your small business location. That said, local competition can be fierce. Small businesses that want to connect with local consumers online can’t afford to make marketing mistakes that place them at a disadvantage.

Although there’s no perfect formula for dominating local search, there are certain mistakes that you must stop making to keep from sabotaging your own visibility. Today, we’ll examine the most common mistakes and what can be done to remedy them.

Writing Content For Search Engines, Not Local Customers

Done right, content marketing can be a powerful tool for local businesses. Publishing consistent content allows you to tell your brand story and educate consumers about products, news, and trends, all while establishing your small business as an industry leader.

Quality blog posts also help search engines learn more about your company, which can lead to increased credibility and higher rankings in search results. To be specific, Google loves E-A-T content — content enriched by the author’s expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. Local small businesses need to take it a step further and realize content is most effective when it has a bit of local flavor. A local perspective can infuse blog content with personality, make it more relevant to readers, and help the business build a stronger connection with local customers.

Sacrificing Backlink And Citation Quality For Quantity

Gone are the days when those scoring the most backlinks are guaranteed to come out on top. Backlinks are the number of other websites that have a link in them pointing to your small business website.  Sure, having lots of citations and backlinks pointing to the business’ website can still be great for SEO, but only if the sources are authoritative and credible.

Businesses that invest in high-quality link-building and submit listings to respectable local directories will see a boost in their online visibility. However, search engines do notice when a site receives most of its traffic from untrustworthy sources, which can result in lower search rankings.  Luce Media has a very cost-effective program to get your business on the top 50 online directories.  To check what your online visibility looks like, click here.

Instead of trying to get as many backlinks as possible, focus on earning high-quality citations from reputable sources. The citations themselves should offer up-to-date information, and the business’s name, address and phone number (NAP data) must be consistent across the web.

Here are a few suggestions for improving your web presence through backlinks and citations:

  • Submit small business listings to high-quality local directories
  • Contribute guest posts to authoritative websites
  • Sponsor a local charity event or Little League team
  • Include the website in social media bios for the business

Just remember: Quality is more important than quantity.

The online visibility of any small business is essential for getting found by consumers in this digital age and, if there is bad data, duplicate listings or no listing at all, then small businesses are losing customers. Luce Media has the tools and the technology to make sure your small business is highly visible online.  Online visibility is not a “one and done” process. A small business’s local presence must be monitored, maintained, and adapted based on algorithm changes on a consistent basis.  Contact us here at Luce Media to find out how we can help you improve your SEO and be found more often in Google searches. Luce Media helps companies in McKinney, Allen, Plano and Frisco with social media marketing.

Written by Bernadette Coleman and originally appeared in Advice Local’s blog.