marketing secrets and techniques to get you more business

 

Search Engine Optimization for Local Business

In this report I will explain what search engine optimization is, who needs seo, and how to be successful with seo. Thanks for taking the time to come to my website and read this valuable report.

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What is Seo and How Can it Help YOU!

Search Engine Optimization or SEO for short is a set of techniques that are used to help you achieve higher rankings in the search engines. There are two main types of seo;

1) on page seo

2) off page seo

Each of these has an important role in getting you a higher ranking online, but off page seo is far more important. Below I will explain what the two methods are and later on in the report I will explain exactly what I do with every websites I build for myself and for my clients.

On Page SEO

This refers to everything that is on your website. Your layout, content, headlines, titles, url, images, video, load times, and sitemaps.

Off Page SEO

This is what the search engines see from other sites. These include the number of backlinks (links that link back to your site), the relevancy of the backlink, the authority of the website that is linking to you, the keywords in the backlink, and citations. Since this report is for local business you really do not need anything more than this to get your business to the top of the search engines.

Who Needs SEO?

Any company, charity, individual or other entity that has a website and wants to be found by people searching with a search engine needs to use search engine optimization.

There are other methods to market your website online. You may have heard of SEM, search engine marketing. This is when you use the paid side of the search engines. Through the use of keywords and bidding on those keywords you can buy your way to the top of the search engines. The downside of this method at this point is many people are becoming very aware of those ads and are becoming blinded to the ads. At least you only pay for the ads people click on, and not the impressions of the ads, this is why these ads are called ppc or pay per click. This method of marketing is becoming tougher and tougher for the smaller advertiser, but if you are a local business you can still be very successful with this method.

Where to Use SEO

Use search engine optimization on your website content pages and your home page. You do not need to optimize your about us page or and product spec pages, or any page that you do not want the search engines to find. In fact if you do not want the search engines to crawl a page on your website you can place a noindex tag in the head section of your website, or have your designer do this for you.

Why Use SEO?

As more and more people use the internet for searching local businesses you will want your company ranking higher and higher as time goes on. Most people believe that the yellow pages will shrink each year and be obsolete in 5 years (2016). I am not sure about this just yet, but the one thing I do know is in the ten years that I have been working online I have seen keywords go from a monthly search of less than 30 per month to more than 400 per month. Even more staggering is those same keyword phrases were only getting searched around 90 times per month just 4 years ago. This tells me that the trend is upward and if you do not start ranking your site today you may not be able to rank a site in 5 years. After all there is only 10 places on the front page of the search engines and very few people go to page number 2.

Even if you are in a highly competitive field you will find that the traffic from the search engines will cost you less per client than a lot of other methods of advertising.

WHAT!?! I Thought SEO was FREE!!

 

Does SEO Cost Money?

Yes many people will talk about the free traffic you get from the search engines when you rank higher than most of the other people that are going after the same keywords as you, but there is a cost to get you there. Most people call this free traffic as compared to the pay per click methods and pay per impression methods that are out there.

There is still a cost, just like anything in business. If not a cost in money then there is a cost in time. Depending on your circumstances you may have more time than money therefore you might want to follow the steps I use to rank high in the search engines, but even then there is cost. After all a search engine professional does not have a zero cost business.

Even if you got on the phone and cold called potential clients yourself you would have invested a fair amount of time. Same holds true for optimizing your site for the search engines. If you do the work yourself you will have a cost in learning, material, software, services, submissions, time and many hours of frustrations. If you are like me and you love everything to do with marketing then learning how to optimize your site on your own is very doable.

What are YOUR Clients Searching For?

Go to Google adwords and type in your city and your industry in the box provided. If you have a Google account you should sign in first as this will give you more information. Now make sure to click on all areas if you are outside of the US. Now, on the left hand side you will see a box that has three settings. Broad, Exact and Phrase. Uncheck broad and check exact, then click on search.

You should now see a box that has your keyword term and the number of global searches and local searches. I only use the global search. If that term is greater than 200 then save than term as a possible name to buy. Now try the search again with some different keyword phrases. Once you have done this 20 times or so try and buy the domain name with the highest monthly search, if that one is not available try the next one down on your list. I try to buy .com .net or .org domains, I do have a few .biz and .co domains but I have not tried to rank those at this time.

Now you need to build a website.

 

How to Use SEO for Higher Rankings

"Wait a Minute, I already have a Website"

That is great, but now you have a choice to make. Go into your current website and optimize that site and start trying to rank the site or buy a new domain that is keyword rich and build and rank a new site. You can still keep your other site, there is nothing wrong with having more than one site, in fact for best results 4-5 sites might be ideal. Especially if your business cards and other advertising are using that domain name. It is good to have a site that has your company name in the domain. This gives an easy ranking for you in the search engines for people that are searching for you. Many people might look for you after getting your name from a friend or other referral.

When you are ranking local sites you will find that a keyword rich domain will be easier for you to rank than one that has no keywords in the domain. This does not mean you can not rank a site without a keyword in the domain, there is just more work to get the site to that point.

If you are unsure about building a website you can find some free programs online or pick up some software that will help you build a site fairly easy without being very technical. The programs I have used in the past are wordpress, xsitepro, dreamweaver, and mozilla. If you have never built a website before I suggest using wordpress. There are many tutorials online to help you build a site with wordpress.

To rank well you will want to use your keyword phrases in your title tags, and hi, h2, and h3 tags as well. Write as many articles as you can about your business and the products and services you have. Also write some articles on tips or pros and cons of the products and services you provide. These are not sales letters, this is content you need on your site so that the search engines know what you are about. Now in the content you should have a link to one other article and back to your home page. The links that you use should have anchor text in the link. This means your link does not say click here, but instead using the keyword phrase. For instance if you have a plumbing business in Chicago you might have a link that says Chicago faucets, if that is what you wanted to be found for.

When you first build a site you should create 10 articles of content on your site about 650 words each. Then every month do a minimum of one new article. If you want to be more aggressive then you should do 2 or more articles each month. Just one will give you a total of 22 articles, plus your contact, about us, and home pages, and any other service or product pages you would like to be found for.

Ranking Higher in The Search Engines

Article Directories

Next you will want to write 3 articles for every article you have on your site. This article can be smaller, around 400 words. The purpose of these articles is submit the new smaller article to article directories. This will allow a link back to your site that will give you human traffic and search engine traffic. If you like you can write one article then rewrite the article two more times, as long as the three articles appear to be different. Do not cheat on this or you will be wasting your time, as the search engines will discount the value of this link and you will have done all this work for nothing.

Once you have the three articles you will need to set up accounts with ezinearticles.com, articedashboard.com and articlebase.com. There are dozens of more sites for you to use, but this is a good start. Once you are registered you need to add the articles and then add your author bio. This is where you can place your links back to your site. You are not allowed any links anywhere else in the body of the article except in the author bio box. Give a description or some sort of teaser to get people to come back to your site. This is a great way to get live traffic to your site and at the same time get valuable backlinks to your site increasing your rankings in the search engines.

Blog Commenting

Another method of getting backlinks to your site is by searching for blogs that have topics about your industry. Then you go onto someone’s blog and you leave a comment that has a backlink to your site. Often when you do this you may not be able to leave a link with anchor text, and many times the only link you will have will be your name, or a name you are using. This is ok as only having anchor text with your main keyword phrase in all of you links is not always the best way to build trust with the search engines.

Backlinks From Forums

One other method for building backlinks is to join forums in your industry. If you own a cleaning company you should search online for forums for cleaning company owners, or something along those lines. Join as many as you can then read through the posts. Only where you can truly add benefit to the conversation you can leave a comment. When joining a forum you will have a signature that you can place links in. As with the blog commenting you most likely will not be having any anchor text in your links. This is ok as you will get a lot of people that will find you on those forums that can use your services in your area. And of course you will get links to your site that the search engines will follow. Unfortunately these links do not carry very much weight anymore, but at least you are talking about your industry and the more you talk the more you are seen as an expert. This in turn does have some people trust your site enough to link from their own site. Which is a great bonus.

Business Directories

The next place I go out and get backlinks from is business directories. There are many different business directories for every possible industry out there. Some of these will cost you money others will be free. If at first you do not want to pay for a business directory then just go after the free ones. The best way to find business directories is by doing a search online for a directory in your industry. Unlike other methods I have explained up to this point you will only get one link from each directory. This is ok since you will also be placing other information in your listing that will help you rank in the maps or local search part of the search engines as well. Which brings me to the point, have you claimed or created your business that is or should be in the places section of Google, and on the local search section of Bing? If not you should go and do that.

Social Networks

I am sure you have an account on Facebook, but do you have one on Linked In, Google +1, and other social networks? The reason this is good to have a link on these sites is there is a lot of trust with the larger social networking sites. The more trust or authority a site has the more value the backlink has.

Social Bookmarking

Social bookmarking is an easy way to get free links to your site. The trouble with these links is if you create new links to your site from the same account everyday you will most likely get banned and have to start over with a new account. If you go slow and join about 20 social bookmarking sites and only do something once a month from each site you should be fine. The reason people get banned when building backlinks this way is most of the time there is no real value to the other members of the site. Then in a very short period of time people are feeling spammed by you and begin to report your listings. If you only promote good, high quality information you should be fine.

Press Releases

Another great way to get very good backlinks is by creating press releases and submitting to all the different press release directories that are out there. This is a little more difficult to get accepted for as compared with the article directories, but when you are accepted the backlinks are much more powerful and makes the extra work worthwhile. Some of these are paid directories, but good press release in a paid directory can be worth more than all your listings in the other press release directories.

Video Sites

Video sites are another way of promoting your site. You can place links in your description of the video on most of the video sharing sites, but those links do not count towards your link count. Having said that though you can still get some great traffic from those links. The only reason I even mention this here is because if you do create a video you should use the above methods of link building to get authority to those videos, and Youtube is the second most searched search engine. Therefore getting your videos ranked high in the internal search engine of Youtube and other video sharing sites is very beneficial. Think of your video as having a second or third website that can draw traffic to your current site and in many cases people will just call you directly for your products and services from the video they just watched.

Podcasts

Podcasts will give you backlinks and can be made very quickly after you have made a video. Simply take the audio from your video and create a podcast. Put the same podcast in all the podcast directories you can find. This does take a lot of work and I do not do this for my sites, but I work on dozens of peoples websites so my time is limited. If I was only working on my site then I would take the time to build these backlinks, as the more you have the higher you will rank in the search engines.

Web 2.0 Sites

Web 2.0 sites are an easy way to get backlinks. You join a site like wordpress.com or blogger and create blogs that will link back to your site. There are many web 2.0 properties on the internet that you can take advantage of and build small information sites that will link to your site. Just remember though if you go out and build 5 new sites on web 2.0 properties you will have to create content for those sites. You can take the articles that you have written for the article directories and rewrite each article and place on the web 2.0 properties. The key to being successful with this is staying consistent.

These are the best ways to build a solid and varied backlinking structure that will move your website up the ranks in all of the search engines.

 

Bonus Seo Techniques

An added strategy that will double your work but multiply your results is to build backlinks to each of the articles, web 2.0 properties, and press releases you have created. In most cases only a portion of the backlinks you build will get indexed by the search enginges, and if that page that has your backlink on the page does not get indexed then that link does not count. To attempt to get more links indexed I build web 2.0 properties that I link to articles and press releases that I have created. Then I create separate accounts with social bookmarking networks that I will use to link to those web 2.0 properties. Add this to your strategy and you will greatly increase the number and value of the backlinks you have created that point to your site. This will also give more authority to those backlinks that you have created since these now have backlinks as well. Starts to get a little confusing and time consuming, but the traffic you get from doing this is all worthwhile.

12 Months Later

You now have a website that has a keyword rich domain name, 22 articles, with your phone number and address and any other contact information you may want on the site. You also have at least 66 backlinks coming from article directories, about 100 backlinks coming from forums, another 50-100 backlinks coming from blogs you have commented on, 50 or so backlinks from business directories, backlinks from press releases and backlinks from social networking and social bookmarking sites. Then on top of this you have created around 300 backlinks to your article directory pages, and another 100 or so backlinks to your press releases and web 2.0 properties. On top of this you should have created at least 12 simple videos that you also built about 25-50 backlinks to.

You now have a site that is ranking very well in the search engines and is in a solid position to keep your rank for years to come. you will of course have to keep this same strategy going, but at this point at least you are making money from your efforts and if you so choose you can hire someone to do this work.

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