If Travelers & Local Business Are Important To You, So Is Yelp

Does your business depend on travelers or local customers?

YelpIf the answer is yes, you need to take a look at your Yelp listing. While you may never have heard much about Yelp, it can be very important to you if you have a business that relies on transient and/or “local” business.

Nearly every Google, Bing, or Yahoo search for a “local” business returns listings that include one or more Yelp listings in the results. That is especially true if the search is done on a mobile device.

How important are those people using mobile devices? A “Local Search” study recently released  by comScore, Neustar Localeze and agency 15 Miles, reveals that “78 Percent Of Local-Mobile Searches Result In Offline Purchases.” ComScore also observed, “Nearly half of all service, restaurant and travel searchers were looking for a business they have never made a purchase from before.” The implications and importance should not be overlooked or undervalued.

Yelp’s listings are often near the top of local search results. One of the reasons is their reviews. In addition to being prominent in Google search results, Yelp provides reviews by its “Yelpers” for Apple Maps, as well as listings and reviews on Bing, and since February of 2014, Yahoo. Yelp also signed a deal with Yellow Pages.  The agreement allows YP to enhance its customers’ business listings on Yelp, and expand their distribution within the YP Local Ad Network to include Yelp’s vast audience of consumers.

Reviews are arguably the most important element of Yelp.

Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines are paying more and more attention to and using “social signals” (in varying degrees) when ranking search results. Of those “social signals” the importance of reviews is significant. The number of people talking about your business and what they are saying has an impact on how well your web pages rank in search results.

If you have a business, especially one with a physical storefront, you likely have a Yelp listing. Don’t take a chance that they have your business information correct. Claim your business listing, so it is displaying as you would have it. I should note, they will likely try to upgrade you to a paid account. It is not necessary for a basic listing. You will have to make your own decision about the value of upgrading.

Of course, Yelp is only part of the equation, there are at least six other major players when it comes to Local Search. You may read about them and find links to where you may update your local listings in our earlier blog post, Take Control of Your Local Search Listings Now!

Don’t put it off. Update your Yelp listing today.

Keyword SEO is Not Enough – 8 Steps to Fixing

SEO, a part of search engine marketing imageThat statement is certainly not a great revelation. However, it is worth repeating. While it has never been a case of “build it and they will come” for websites, many think a Search Engine Optimized website will automatically do well for nearly any search using keywords related to what their website offers. It seems that many people think that “Keywords” = SEO. Obviously, that has always been an overly simplistic view, but keywords do play a big role in getting a given web page displayed in search results. That said, there is much more to SEO, and certainly more to generating traffic to your website.

How people use the Internet and Web has dramatically changed.

Much that happens on the Internet no longer includes viewing a web page. It happens on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, various chat platforms, regular email, newsletters, and other platforms. People are using phones and other mobile devices, not just desktop computers. When internet activity does involve viewing a web page, in many cases the visitor came from a link in content on one of the aforementioned platforms and devices.

How Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines evaluate and rank available content on the web that can be displayed in Search Engine Results Page (SERPs) rankings has dramatically changed as well. Reportedly, Google has over 200 Ranking Factors. Only a portion of those have to do with on-page SEO.

On top of that, with Google’s “Universal Search” results displaying many elements in addition to traditional snippets and links to relevant websites. Search results may now include (not all at the same time) the following.

  • Site Links (6 pack)
  • Google Map + Pins
  • Local Carousel – Photos
  • List Carousel – Just that, grouped list of results
  • Knowledge Panel – Top Right, info related to query
  • Google AdWords – Top, Right Column, Bottom
  • Answer Box
  • Image Mega-Block
  • Video Results
  • News Results
  • Social Results
  • In-Depth Articles

Where eight to ten traditional listings were once displayed for a query, now there are often only three or four. The competition for results page real estate is very real.

It is this simple. Traditional on-page, keyword search engine optimization, is not enough by itself to achieve high rankings in search results. What you do online other than on your website, and what others say about your business and your web presence, impacts your website traffic.

Here are 8 steps to fixing your search results rankings.

  •  Have a quick-loading, attractive, relevant, and frequently updated website.
    • Google includes site speed in their 200 ranking “signals”
  • Well-written content that visitors find of value, and worthy of sharing
    • Compelling content that conveys your value proposition for your product or service
  • On-Page Search Engine Optimization done correctly, including headings and internal links
  • Add a blog, or “what’s new” page that has fresh and compelling content
  • Don’t forget any given keyword has to be on a web page to show up in search results
  • Create and use at least one or two Social Media accounts
  • Place Social Media share and follow buttons on your website
  • Send a monthly email newsletter (include links to your website) to clients and prospects

I know. It sounds like more work and time, and it is. That said, in today’s rapidly and constantly changing online world, Keyword SEO is Not Enough. 

Contact us today about a free website audit for your business or organization.

1-800-281-9993 or 608-822-3750 or contact@webwisedesign.com

Have an Old Website That No Longer Ranks Well in Searches?

p-google-search-boxFor years, many have believed the age of a domain name is a factor in Google search results rankings. We have seen anecdotal evidence that it seems to be true, to a point.  Google’s Matt Cutt’s answer to a related question in a Google Webmaster Tools video prompted this post.

Does this sound like your business?

  • Your domain name was registered several  years ago.
  • You had a website before a lot of others understood the importance.
  • Your website was doing pretty well in Google for many keyword searches
  • Lately, the last statement is no longer the case.
  • You are wondering why you no longer do as well in Google SERPS (Search Engine Results Page) rankings.

Does this sound like your business or organization?

  • You have not done any meaningful updates to the content on your website in years
  • You have not redesigned the look and layout of your website
  • Your photos and graphics are not optimized to be fast loading
  • You are not using Social Media
  • You have not included Social Media share & follow buttons
  • Your competitors have been doing all of the above

Take a fresh look at your website to see just what visitors are experiencing, and compare that to what they experience on your competitor’s or other similar websites.

Don’t just listen to us. See for yourself what Google’s Matt Cutts says in his video, “How can an older site maintain its ranking over time?

Three Important SEO Facts to Remember for 2014!

1. The Google Search you remember from 2 years ago doesn’t exist!

GoogleMost likely, what you thought you knew about getting ranked in Google SERPS (Search Engine Results Page) rankings, matters very little anymore. Think semantic and entity search with keywords as the tertiary element.

2. Just having a website is not enough!

Social Media needs to be included as well. Blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook – know the social media platform used by your target audience and connect with them frequently.

3. You can’t ignore Google+ anymore! Especially, those of you with local businesses.

I know. I know. I don’t like it either. When someone searches locally for your business or the products or services you offer, you simply have to control the narrative.

Google’s Hummingbird – Why? What Have We Learned? What You Need To Do.

The Hummingbird algorithm update has changed Google search. You don’t have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing, and you don’t have to be a Search Engine Optimization expert to know that Google search results are not the same as they were. The change isn’t necessarily bad. It is just different.

Why and What?

There are a couple of things in play here.

For at least a couple of years, Google has been moving towards “semantic search” and “entity” (which we’ll talk about in a future blog post) results, and with the Hummingbird algorithm update, Google is continuing that path. Simply put, semantic search tries to understand searcher intent and the contextual meaning of the keywords in a search query.

Humming BirdAs we all know Google has a treasure trove of data about how we search, how it relates to us, where we are, and on and on it goes. The results are meant to be more natural, or “conversational,” because search queries are increasingly more conversational in manner. Hummingbird is an effort to leverage that premise and provide more relevant search results, which is what Google is always trying to do and sell.

The other thing in play is the extremely rapid embracement of mobile devices and Google’s refinement of voice search capabilities. The keyboard (with shorter queries for many reasons) is falling victim to voice search on phones, tablets, notebooks, and even some desktops. For most people, voice search is as “natural” as it gets.

What do you need to do?

Those of you who read this blog or know me, might expect me to say, “your content needs to be well-written, describing the benefits of each of your products and/or services.” That is exactly part of what I would say. The content has to be structured correctly on the page. You should take advantage of linking (correctly) to other relevant pages within your website. Of course, there is more that can be done to individual websites, that I won’t generalize here.

Quality, well-written content will be rewarded even more, as long as it is natural and conversational. Keyword cramming won’t work so well for you, and that’s a good thing.

Of course, we are always happy to help. If you would like some help sorting out all the talk about Hummingbird, please give us a call at 1-800-281-9993 or 608-822-3750, or email us contact@webwisedesign.com.