Posts Tagged ‘SEO’

Are Your Business Directory Listings Up-to-Date?

Business Directory Listings are an easy way to add some SEO linkbacks to your website. They are also a great way for people to find you when searching for businesses in specific areas. But there are hundreds of business directories that you can get listed in, and keeping your information up-to-date can be cumbersome.

Out-of-date information can hurt SEO

If you have information out there that is not up-to-date, it can be seen as a dead SEO link. It’s important to do a periodic review of these listings to make sure your address, phone, email and business description are all the same.

We have moved, so nothing has changed

Do not assume that because you haven’t moved that nothing has changed. Some of these sites allow visitors to change listings, and sometimes visitors make mistakes in an attempt to be helpful. It’s still important to check out the information that is published about you.

Aggregate business listing sites often get it wrong

Sites like ZoomInfo or Pipl crawl the internet and compile information about businesses. They often get the information wrong so it is crucial to check these regularly.  A great example is for Landau Digital. There is a company overseas with the same name, and ZoomInfo put all our information together into one listing. That means their employees and our employees were both listed, and our offices were shown as two locations for the same business. Some of the most popular aggregate business listing sites:

Services to help keep up-to-date

There are some really helpful services that can help keep you up-to-date. You do have to pay for them, but in exchange they can save you time.

  • For as little as $100 Advice Local will help keep your listings on track. They will also submit your business information to dozens of directories that you may not already be a part of.
  • Yext allows you to scan listings and it will tell you which ones have erroneous information. You can pay them to fix specific listings or all of them. If you want to save $$$, you can just use their scanning service as a way to point out errors, then you can go to each site and fix the listing yourself.

Step by Step SEO to Measure Website Effectiveness

So you want to get noticed online for all the right reasons? Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the set of tools and strategies for getting people to discover your website based on its content. Most articles you read about SEO stop there after describing the technical stuff. But good SEO is tied to your online marketing strategy. It is really important for you to be able to attract people to your website who will benefit from being there and likewise create some benefit for you as well.

So we are starting a series of step-by-step SEO blogs that will provide you a plan for novices (and others) to understand, evaluate and think strategically about SEO. If you’ve been wondering how to implement an SEO strategy, just check in every Monday for the next step in our SEO series.

Today’s blog provides a plain English definition of terms important to SEO. Future blogs will take you through each of these areas and explain why they are important, and how to incorporate them into your SEO strategy.

  • Analytics program: This is a tool that provide statistical information about activity on your website. It is provided free by your hosting company or by another online service such as Google.
  • Hits: This was a term used early on in the web world to indicate how many visitors came to a site. Hits are actually NOT a visitor count. Hits are the number of files downloaded from a server when a page is called for. So if you have an HTML page that has 10 photos on it, when somebody types in that page URL, there will be 11 hits to the server (1 HTML page + 10 photo images).
  • Visitor count: This is the number of distinct visitors who have visited at least one page on your site. It is measured by the IP address (Internet connection point) assigned to one computer. So practically speaking, two people could share a computer and it would only count for one visitor. But generally speaking, this is a good indicator of how many people view your site.
  • Unique visitors: If a person visits your site on different days during the same period, this is counted twice in the visitor count. To measure unique visitors, your analytic program adjusts for this and counts each IP address once.
  • New visitors: This is the number of new IP addresses that view a page on a site during a particular period. This means that since the inception of your analytics software, this IP address has not visited up until this point.
  • Page views per visit: This is the average number of pages that a visitor views before leaving a website. Depending on your analytic program, you may see this as an average of all visitors or you may be able to get data distinguished by some other criteria e.g. new visitors.
  • Bounce rate: If a visitor views your site and leaves immediately, you will have a high bounce rate. There is no set standard about how fast this must happened before a visitor has “bounced.” However most experts agree that visitors typically will leave after 15 seconds if they don’t believe a website is interesting to them. It is said that a high bounce rate is an indication that your site does not pertain to the information the individual is seeking. A high bounce rate could be an indication of a poorly designed site, insufficient content, or poor SEO bringing in people from keywords that are not relevant.
  • Time on the site: This is just what it sounds like and your analytics program may have a way to view additional variables in combination with this e.g. unique visitors.
  • Top Content: This is information about the most popular pages on a website. Typically an analytics program will sort the pages and display how many people visited the page in numbers and percentage of all visitors.
  • Page views: This is the official term for number of pages viewed on the site.
  • Referring site: If a viewer does not type your URL directly into their browser to arrive at your site, they must have found a link on another site or used a search engine to discover your website. The site that provides the link to your website is called the referring site.
  • Traffic source: This indicates whether the person came from a link on another site, from a search engine, social media site, etc. The traffic source tells you the types of sites that are referring your readers, while the referring site gives the actual URL of the source.
  • Landing pages: This is information about the first page that visitors arrive at when they come to your site. In other words, they may not come to your site through the home page, but the link they followed may lead directly to a page within your site.
  • Exit pages: This tells you the page visitors were looking at right before they left your site. This information ties into the bounce rate. If you have a high bounce rate, look at your exit pages and see where people are leaving.
  • Organic search: This is a term used to describe a search that is based only on keywords. This means that the results are not influenced by paid advertising or other factors.

Learn SEO From Your Competitors

SEO can be a confusing and time-intense process, and many of our clients ask over and over where they should focus next. While it would be great if we could implement dozens of SEO tasks, the truth is, it’s much easier to focus on one or two directions at a time. Your search engine competitors can be a wealth of information for honing your SEO strategy.

Find your search engine competitors

Search engine competitors are different than industry competitors. Search engine competitors are the URLs that come up when you search using the keywords you are optimizing for. They may or may not be in your same industry, they are simply the sites that come up based on the search terms entered.

For example, let’s say you provide water damage restoration services. You might search under “water restoration” and see who comes up at the top of Google. The sites who come up on top are your search engine competitors. When I type in this term, I get companies that provide these services, but also an insurance company ranked at #3. So they are your search engine competitor, even though their company does not provide the same services.

If you want to hone in a more localized search, you might put in “water damage Los Angeles” and see who your search engine competitors are for a localized search. It is easier to rank for a localized search, so if you are not well indexed, I would start by analyzing local search engine competitors.

What do I do when I find my competitors?

Choose 2-3 competitors whose sites have good SEO ranking. Once you have made your choice, use the following criteria to analyze the SEO optimization of their website:

1) Content: Where are they using keywords in their content. Use these free keyword density tools to analyze the content and see what the percentage of occurrence is for important keywords. Have they done anything clever with their content in order to weave in keywords. For example, perhaps they show a map with links to city names in order to help get optimized for specific locals.

2) Meta Tags: Right click on the web page and select “view source” in order to see the HTML code for the page. At the very top of the page you will see meta tag information for that specific page. Here you can see if they have input keyword and description meta information to let the search engines know more about the page. SEO rumor has it that this information is no longer important for search engine ranking, but analyze your competitor’s sites to be sure. If they aren’t using it, and they are ranking high, chances are you can skip it too.

3) Title: The title of the page is considered the most important SEO element above all else on the page. The title is at the very top of the browser window, not necessarily the headline shown within the body content of the page. It is important to include keywords in your title. How well have they integrated the keywords into the page title?

4) Heading Tags: Otherwise known as H1, H2 and H3 tags, heading tags on a page are considered more important content than the regular body text. Does your competitor use these heading tags in order to highlight content? If so, have the woven in their keywords? What keywords have they used?

5) Inline links: Inline links refer to links within body text. Joomla web design is an inline link to the Landau Digital website using the words “Joomla web design”. Search engines consider inline links to be much more important than non-linked text. Inline links from body content are the most valuable types of in-bound links for your site (if they come from a page that is of relevant content). Does your competitor use inline links to interlink content on their site which would emphasize specific keywords to help with indexing?

6) Content for SEO: Do they have information on their site that boosts their keyword optimization? For example, if they  provide business coaching for entrepreneurs, do they have articles on their site that talk about business growth strategies?  Do they have a blog that is always adding additional content, which would further index them under optimum keywords?

7) Research their in-bound links: We’ve never found a tool that is 100% reliable for this, but it’s worth it to use some of the tools out there to discover your competitor’s in-bound links. Researching inbound links gives you an idea of how many links they have coming into their website. Read Building on Your Competitor’s Links to learn how to find and utilize this information.

Conclusion

Your competitors can teach you a lot about SEO, and give you a clear direction for where to focus your SEO efforts. We would suggest choosing one competitor each week whose site you analyze in order to glean new ideas for your own SEO strategy.