Google My Maps Marketing And SEO Strategy

Benefits Of Using Google My Maps

One of the more unique tools offered by Google in recent months is its new “My Maps” functionality.   The ability to use for real world marketing, online marketing, SEO, boosting your YouTube videos, boosting awareness of your website’s (or other web property’s) images, inner pages and posts, and “Tier 2” link building is impressive.

 

What Is “My Maps”?

Unlike regular Google Maps, which promotes specific locations such as your corporate headquarters or store locations, this tool enables you to make an indefinite number of “maps” which you can customize and use to show the public several aspects of your business.   For example, you can create a custom My Maps map of:

  • Cities where your customers or clients are located anywhere around the world
  • Specific locations where you may have been a public speaker
  • Locations where you have been an exhibitor at trade shows
  • Event venues where you have performed or had your products (or services) used
  • Any other way you can think of displaying relevant geographic information in a visual manner rather than a simple list

 

Why Should I Consider Using This My Maps Method?  What Benefit Can It Give Me To Make My Phone Ring Or Otherwise Grow My Business?

These are great questions!

Since this is a Google-owned property, which you can access using your Google account that you likely already use for YouTube/Gmail/Docs/Blogger (Blogspot) blogs/etc., you will easily be able to create many of these maps.  The benefits are many, including the flexibility to highlight subsets of your business such as “Client Locations In 2015” (and you can do another My Map for a previous year like 2014) or some of the benefits mentioned earlier.

In terms of online marketing and SEO benefits, you surprisingly can get more benefit out of these My Maps than you may realize.  Here are some specific things you can do with these Maps:

  • Most people don’t know that these My Maps can rank on their own in the search engines, much like a YouTube video can rank on its own.  Be sure to do proper keyword research and put the keywords in the correct My Maps fields
  • In the description field include your business “NAP” (for citations) and your phone number, if appropriate
  • In the description field link to your website, your social media properties, and any other web properties that make sense to promote (e.g. a press release distribution account central location, YouTube channel, guest post that features your business favorably, etc.)
  • Embed optimized YouTube videos in the specific map marker locations to help with local SEO for videos
  • Embed optimized (including geo-tagged) images in specific map marker locations
  • Link to inner pages on your website (or other web properties) which are relevant to the geographic area defined by the map marker
  • Much more

 

What To Do With These My Maps Once They Are Created?

You can do several things with these custom My Maps, both with the direct link and using iFrame embed code.  You can:

  • Embed the My Maps iFrame code on your website, blog or other primary web property
  • Share the link to the My Maps URL on your social media properties
  • Share the link in any e-mail newsletter you have
  • Make a QR code to the specific URL and share the code on print materials at trade shows, business cards, or other marketing done in the real world
  • Have the iFrame code get embedded on third-party web properties to send traffic to the My Maps page
  • Many other ways to market the link to the My Maps page (URL)

 

If you would like help on creating, marketing, getting search engine marketing benefits, or getting real world benefits from these custom Google My Maps then you are welcome to contact us.   We can help you gain more exposure to the My Map as well as promote your website and other web properties.

 

Examples Of These My Maps

Here is an example of a My Map for an optometrist in Dallas who wanted to promote the neighboring businesses near his office location:

 

Here is an interior designer based in Dallas, listing the nearby cities and suburbs where she has clients:

 

 

Here is a DFW real estate agent who lists some North Texas new neighborhoods where the home builders are offering incentives for prospective home buyers:

 

Here is a Map of client location history for a defense attorney who specializes in health care fraud cases such as those pertaining the False Claims Act, CLIA, Medicaid billing, anti-kickback and similar medical industry situations:

 

Here is a My Map featuring some of the locations of a commercial modular construction manufacturing company’s recently completed projects across the United States:

 

And here is a ranch and farm real estate broker’s My Maps listing of counties and towns featuring recently sold ranches and agricultural properties in Texas and Oklahoma:

Link Building After The Penguin Updates

This is a repost of an article I was asked to contribute to Greg’s old SearchSimplicity.com website.  It is reposted in its entirety here.

Please note that SEO has changed since the time of this article (late 2013), so contact me for more up to date strategies.  Nonetheless there are some helpful tips here which are still valid.

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The Types Of Links Which May Be “Friendly” As Tier 1 Links In The Post-Penguin 2.1 Environment

Many people involved with SEO may have legitimate concerns in the post-Penguin 2.1 environment.  Even with solid strategies being employed before the update, many professionals have had their strategies rendered worthless or counterproductive since the first week of October 2013.  These strategies could have included posting inadequately-spun content on only one type of platform, having too high of a percentage of the link anchor text containing the exact keyword, placing content on properties with low authority (Page Rank, Domain/Page Authority, etc.), or having too much “spammy” link content on a third tier of a typical tiered-linking system.

There is much discussion about how to recover lost rankings for affiliate sites, client sites, personal websites and authority sites.  Such discussions have revolved around changing anchor texts on first-tier (Tier 1) links which you can control, using the Google disavow tool, getting more social signals, improving on-page loading times and making websites more mobile-friendly.  All of these are helpful strategies, but no single strategy is likely to be the “magic bullet” sought when a panic situation happens.

One strategy which can help you regain (or even improve) your search engine rankings is to create more top-quality (Tier 1) links which point directly to a page on your website.  Additionally, they have to be formatted properly and in “Penguin-friendly” ratios.  The reasons for this recommendation include:

  • You can be in control of the links, including changing or removing them if needed in the future
  • You can structure the wording of your anchor text and the words surrounding the links
  • Images, videos, infographic content, podcasts and other multimedia has the potential to be embedded and generate a quality link
  • Link building software (e.g. GSA, SENukeX, Magic Submitter) can be used to boost these new Tier 1 links, if created properly
  • Previous content, such as images or PDF content, can be used separately

The goal is to focus on value-added content, ideally which has some sort of “verification” factor to it.  For example, a video on YouTube has the ability to be pulled – or at least voted with thumbs down ratings – should it fail to provide the YouTube community with value.  Likewise, value-added comments on industry blogs must be approved by the moderator especially if there are follow-up comments.

Going forward, you have over 30 options for the types of Tier 1 links which have high likelihood of being Penguin 2.1-friendly.  What you want to do is focus on getting your anchor text ratios in order.

As a rule of thumb, consider a “1 for 10″ breakdown.  This means that for every 10 quality (tier 1) links you create, only one should have the exact keyword for which you want to rank, pointing to a specific web-page on your website (or other web property).  The other nine links can be broken down like this:

*  1-2 links can be longer tail keywords, perhaps containing the main keyword
*  3-4 links should be “generic” anchor text like “click here”, “visit this page”, etc.
*  2-3 links should be focused (if applicable) around brand names, names of people, etc.
*  1-2 links should be derivations of the URL (with or without “http : //”, using capitalization on the first letter, etc.)

Of course, you should use as much unique content as you possibly can.  If you choose to use spun content, make every attempt to have the originally unique content spun at the sentence and/or paragraph level.  If you can, include multimedia such as images, videos, audio files and other complementary material.

Here are the roughly 30 types of links which you may wish to consider for your next batch of properly formatted and created Tier 1 links.  You are welcome to add comments about these as well as strategies to create quality Tier 2 links to these newly created Tier 1 links.

POSSIBLE PENGUIN-FRIENDLY TIER #1 LINK TYPES:

1) Citations (business directory listings) like Yelp, InsiderPages.com, Kudzu, etc. — obviously for local (primarily)

2) Intelligent, unique comments on high authority sites such as industry websites and blogs (like SearchSimplicity.com) for national keywords/authority and on local newspaper, radio, TV and local magazine sites for local SEO

3) Guest posts.  These opportunities can be found using all of the appropriate search strings (e.g. KEYWORD + “guest blogger”)

4) Private blog network –> unique hosting accounts, unique/relevant content (including images & videos), unique themes, varied anchor text, varied plug-ins, and even varied platforms (not all just WordPress).  Be smart and careful with these!

5) The top 40-50 article directory sites based on Alexa/PR/Moz Authority.  Again focus on those which require some sort of verification before going live.  You also may post unique, helpful content on sites which even may pay you a little bit of money (e.g. Seekyt.com)

6) Paid press release distribution on quality generic distribution sites (e.g. PRWeb.com) or on industry-specific newswires. Obviously a release (with or without embedded video) may get picked up on other sites. If you want to be conservative, do not optimize the URL with a keyword in the anchor text.  Instead, go with a straight URL or the company name/brand name as the anchor text

7) Optimized videos on sites like YouTube + the YouTube channel

8) Podcasts w/ unique content and distributed on podcast directory sites which still have some decent PR/other authority. Also you may consider a channel w/ unique content on a site like BlogTalkRadio.com with consistently-added content

9) Niche directories which have authority. Examples: industry/trade association directories or local chamber of commerce

10) Competitor backlinks (AHREFS, BacklinkWatch.com or MajesticSEO) and then run through AHREFS for Domain/Page Authority (or through Scrapebox for page-specific PR) or those with high relevance

11) Relevant forums which have some authority on the root domain. Optimized forum profile page and optimized signature files ONLY for those forum profiles where there are actual replies or forum thread starts

12) Social media platforms with legitimate, unique content (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, plus any niche-specific)

13) Answers on sites like Yahoo Answers or similar high-authority answers sites

14) Manually created Web 2.0 pages with unique content and a decent profile page.  These are not necessarily SENuke or GSA SEREngines web 2.0 pages, but rather manually created ones which look like a real human created (or at least edited!) them

15) A service like AutomaticBacklinks.com which puts links on pages w/ PR and some measure of relevance (not always perfect, but okay a portion of the time)

16) Helpful, unique infographic images uploaded to infographic-sharing sites.  Also, you can provide source code to have people embed your infographic on their websites, linking back to your desired web page

17) Getting broken links on relevant sites cleaned up.  You can ask the webmaster to provide a link back to your web property; or, if appropriate, have the webmaster change the link from the broken one to your desired web property

18) Pinning relevant, interesting images on Pinterest and Instagram.  You also can upload, and link back to your desired web property, on image-sharing sites so long as the content is relevant and interesting

19) Interactive content such as quizzes, widgets and other interactive/dynamic content.  These can be added to sites like Quizilla and widget-sharing sites.  Make sure that the content is unique, timely and relevant.  Like the infographic content, you can provide source code to have people embed your infographic on their websites, linking back to your web property

20) Syndicating your blog content.  You can do this by syndicating your RSS feed, using WordPress services which share your content on other websites, sharing content via blog directories, etc.

21) Getting your content shared with volume on social news sites like StumbleUpon, Digg, etc.  This is different than traditional social media properties like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.

22) Links acquired from sources other than traditional “guest posts”.  These include assisting reporters through services like Help A Reporter Out

23) Links on sites which permit discounts, incentives, giveaways, etc.  Focus on those which require some sort of verification process to minimize being in a “neighborhood” with spam

24) Relevant comments on EDU, GOV, MIL and other “hard to get” domains.  These can be tough to acquire, so be sure that the time invested is worth the effort

25) Sponsorship and/or donation links on scholastic (EDU) and organization links.  Ideally, see you can get social media or industry (or local) press about the donation to generate further links

26) Networking to get links.  An example at the local level is to ask a local hotel to provide a link to a local taxi website if the taxi service provides the hotel’s guests with quality service

27) Have others post on your website and then have them share the link to the post on your website through their social media accounts

28) Uploading relevant software to software directories to get links.  Be sure that this isn’t spam software, but actually valuable content which can be given favorable reviews and/or be worthy enough of being shared on social media

29) Any other types of links which can be generated by providing content through networking like Buzzstream and/or Buzzbundle

30) If possible, create helpful tutorials and share them on tutorial sites

31) Share unique content via PDF or slide content on sites like Scribd.com, Slideshare.net and similar document-sharing sites.  Some e-book directories may qualify here; but focus on those which have the high levels of traffic and search engine authority to get a quality link

Additional quality links could be established by “paid reviews”/”paid blog posts”, classified ads (though most are temporary), getting other people to bookmark your content on their social bookmarking accounts (especially relevant ones) and a few other possible methods.

If you do not feel comfortable using any of the 30+ link types mentioned as Tier 1 links, then you likely can use them as Tier 2 links pointing to the Tier 1 links.  This allows for the customized indirect linking which Greg mentioned on his October 22, 2013 post.

Thank you for reading this far.  Feel free to comment on additional types of Tier 1 links which you believe which are Penguin-friendly going forward into 2014 and can drive direct traffic plus help with your overall SEO efforts.

 

Repost – How To Use Youtube For Local Business Marketing

This is a repost from Greg’s old Search Simplicity website which no longer is active.

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Repost – Local SEO And Lessons From The Stock Trading World

Greg used to run Search Simplicity, a website dedicated to SEO and other online marketing topics.  This is a repost from a guest post he added to his site back in the early Fall of 2014.

 

Stock Trading Lessons Applied To Local SEO Search Phrases

Making The Phone Ring Part 1 – Local SEO

phone

If you are a local business owner then you know that the bigger picture is that all online marketing actions (SEO, social media, pay-per-click, etc.) should focus on a few things:

  • Getting new first time customers/clients
  • Enhancing profitability for the business
  • Expansion of awareness/exposure if your “brand” is an issue
    • Although this always is taught first, getting new clients and becoming profitable should be any business’ goal, especially if the business one day wishes to sell the business to another party

A local business often faces a series of challenges when it wishes to grow and expand.  One of the biggest challenges is to enter a new geographic where it has no physical presence, even though the business knows that it can fulfill customer demand for the desired product/service.

There are over 20 online methods which can be considered by any local business owner wishing to grow and expand into a new geographic area.  Not all are “search” related, and these methods MAY be beneficial to your business.

You are welcome to review them and then filter them to which are most appropriate by:

  • What your prospective clients would deem as acceptable and appropriate for your business category
  • Then filter further the methods by what best represents the image you want to convey for your business (or that of your client)

Over the upcoming series of posts, you will become familiar with the basics of the 20+ methods.
Today’s post will cover the first method:

Traditional Local SEO

Please note that some of these principles may refer to something called “Parasite SEO” or “Next Best SEO“.  That is where you rank another web property other than your main website for the desired keyword.  Such a “parasite” property could be:

  • One of your YouTube videos or your company’s YouTube channel
  • Your company’s LinkedIn business page
  • Your location’s listing on Yelp
  • Your local chamber of commerce directory page (if you have a page dedicated just to your business)
  • Your specific page on the local BBB site
  • Etc.

Traditional SEO And Its Core Principles

Even though this post is about reaching new geographic areas, a brief history on traditional SEO needs to be discussed.  If you do not understand these, then you risk being “left in the dark” and have significantly-lowered chances of ranking in the search engines for the towns in which you wish to expand.

You also risk spending WAY too much money by making basic mistakes!

Traditional search engine optimization is based on several principles.  Those principles drive the need to consider the strategy as a viable marketing option because it can help make the phone ring, get new walk-in customers, or get new e-mail subscribers/social media followers.

Those principles are:

  • Your website is ranking at/near the top of the organic (free) search engine results for keyword phrases (user queries) which have some sort of demand AND possible “buyer intent”
  • The fact that the search engines are ranking you at/near the top is a tacit “endorsement” that your business (or that of your client) should be deemed more trustworthy than other options
  • If someone took the time to enter such a query (keyword phrase) into the search engine AND clicked the link to some page on your website (home page or other page) then there is a PRESUMED increase in likelihood that the person may take further action and contact you, show up at your location, purchase something from your website or join some sort of list that you control

Do people today make buying decisions from online properties OTHER than the search engines?  Yes they do.  There can be business review sites, social media sites, classified ads and other properties which can generate new business; and to say otherwise would be wrong.

Does a number one organic (free) ranking, however, still help you increase the odds of increasing profitability?  Most certainly!  This is because you are providing what people are seeking (e.g. a solution to their problems).

Why It Is More Difficult To Achieve The Same Outcome (A # 1 Ranking) Than In Previous Years

Ranking your business’ website (or your client’s website) however is significantly more challenging than it was even just 3-4 years ago.  The actual hard costs to anyone doing the marketing likely are much higher than they were from the 2009-2011 era.

Many of the reasons for this cost increase stem from the various Google Panda/Penguin (and other) search engine algorithm updates.  Here are just a handful of reasons why the costs went up and the difficulty to earn a # 1 ranking became much more challenging:

  • For a third-party consultant/agency to help a client reach a number 1 ranking in the search engines back in 2009-2011, most of what was needed was acquiring a volume of links which had the optimized keywords in the actual text of the link (aka “anchor text”).  It didn’t matter where those links appeared so long as you had a volume of sites pointing directly to your website.  On-page optimization, for some time, appeared to have dropped in importance.
    The consultants/agencies didn’t have to spend too much “hands on” time on a client’s website.  All they had to do was invest in “bulk link building” software and cheap overseas virtual assistants to pump out high volumes of links.
  • Google made its change in 2012 with the beginning of the Panda/Penguin and other updates.  These required the SEO professional (company employee or consultant/agency) to begin to evaluate where to start acquiring links from authoritative websites.  This required more “finesse” than just bulk-volume link building.  As in most industries, with the need for finesse comes premium pricing.
  • Some of the Google updates then forced the SEO professional to also prevent the “too good to be true” scenario from happening.  Many companies had links which were almost “too perfect” and were properly-optimized everywhere.  Google updated its algorithm to “slap” (drop the rankings for) websites which didn’t have a “link profile” which was more natural-looking.  Hence, the need for “de-optimized” links became more important.  Again, more finesse was now required.
  • The same thing later happened with the on-page optimization.  If a company’s website pages were “too perfect” and had too much properly-optimized content then it didn’t look “natural”.  The SEO professional now had to invest more time on the actual website’s on-page SEO factors.
  • A website’s structure and usefulness also started to become important for the rankings.  Google started looking at how long a visitor stayed on a website, how many pages the average visitor visited on the website, how “mobile-friendly” the site was, does it have Schema/Rich Text markup, and basics like a sitemap and privacy policy visible somewhere on every page.  Again, this required more time and hands-on attention.
  • The SEO professionals who then built their own TRULY private blog networks also got “slapped” recently because some of the way they structured the sites that they used to help clients.  Many of these outside websites were structured in ways which left blatant “footprints”.  Once the search engine algorithm picked up on these footprints, it was able to negate any benefit that these privately-constructed sites were bringing to help a client’s website rankings.
  • Finally, Google is starting to evaluate the quality of the content on OTHER pages which link to your page, not just the text of the link (“anchor text”).  The need for quality articles, videos, images and other media – on authoritative websites – linking back to your desired web page has started to skyrocket.  Again, with the need for quality – instead of bulk volume – comes higher costs due to the need for finesse and more precision.

 

A Helpful Acronym To Remember When It Comes To Online Marketing

All of the above, and much more, force a quality SEO professional (in-house or third-party) to understand better how to make a company’s website meet three basic measurements.  The acronym you are welcome to use can be “A.R.T.”, “T.A.R.” or “R.A.T.”  Those three measurements, at a “birds eye view”, are:

  • Authoritative:  Is the website attempting to rank # 1 authoritative for that particular keyword phrase (query)?  If someone from Google manually reviewed the # 1 ranking (instead of the robot/algorithm doing the “reviewing”), would that person deem the current # 1 site to be authoritative on the subject?
  • Relevant:    Is the website attempting to rank # 1 offering relevant, timely (or “timeless”!!) information that truly can benefit the website visitor?
  • Trustworthy:  Is the site, overall, trustworthy?  Is it free from spam, mobile-friendly, have practices in place to protect visitor identity, have full disclosures, and other security/reassurance measures in place?

Why Does Google Need All Of This?

The reason why Google – and any other major company in the internet search/social media industry – need to have so many hurdles and filters now to earn a # 1 ranking?  The primary reason is that they are publicly traded companies (see here)!

They need to generate revenues AND beat quarterly analyst estimates just like any other publicly traded company.  They assume that the harder they make it for the average business to earn a # 1 organic (free) ranking, the more likely that business is to resort to spending money on the paid advertising platform (e.g. Google AdWords).

That is the primary way that the search engine makes its money.  Remember that making a search is free to you, so they have to monetize each page somehow!

Pay-per-click advertising is a very viable strategy, and it will be discussed in a future post for local businesses.  Companies, however, which were used to getting traffic from the search engines – but had search rankings drop – typically “stampede” into pay-per-click in an attempt to make their phones ring. With any new marketing strategy, however, they are going to make mistakes and likely overspend.

Guess who benefits at that point?  That’s right, the search engine or social media platform!
That makes reaching their quarterly earnings estimates a lot easier!

The search engine companies have to make institutional investors (mutual funds, hedge funds, etc.) want to invest in internet companies as an industry overall.  They also compete for dominance within the industry itself.  Each search engine company (and social media company) wants mutual funds to consider its company to be the leader (from an investment standpoint) within the internet company sector.

All of this means is that they need to gain institutional investor market share on two levels.  To do so, they need to make their OWN platforms the most “Authoritative, Relevant, and Trustworthy” that they can.  By doing so, each attempts to convince the average searcher to use their platform exclusively over all of the other options… and hopefully click those paid ads on each page!

“Thanks For The History Lesson…. But What Does That Have To Do With The Website I Want To Rank?”

Great question!

Even though all you care about is using the search engines to help you expand your business into a new geographic area, please consider re-reading the above history.  The reasons why I recommend this are:

  • By understanding what is really going on, you likely won’t be subject to someone selling you a “black box”
  • You may be able to reduce your costs to expand into the new area
  • You will know what to post on your website (or other web properties you control) in order to get someone from the new geographic area to take action
  • You MAY be able to expand and get results faster than you expect
  • You can use pay-per-click budgets more artfully and get better data to then use for longer-term  SEO strategies
  • There is less risk (no guarantees of course!) that your website will incur some sort of penalty from the search engines

If nothing else, you also may be able to refute easily the false promises of the multitude of SEO solicitation calls and e-mails you get each week!  Use the above history to shut them down.  Hopefully, you will be removed from the contact lists of the substandard online marketing companies just looking to trap you in some kind of unhelpful, long-term contract.

Expanding Your Geographic Reach

With all of this history, here are some simple ways to make it possible for your website to gain exposure in a new geographic market.  For this, you will want to achieve as much Authority/Relevance/Trust as possible regarding the new geographic area:

  • If appropriate, add a new page to your website specific to that new market.  Consider this to be a “landing page” and add lots of beneficial, unique and helpful content about the specific new area.
  • Should a page on a local authority website for that area (e.g. that town’s city government page, the convention and visitors bureau website, or school district website) provide confirmation about your service then have an “outbound” (external) link to that content on your new region-specific page.  This way the search engines see that you are linking to something relevant and authoritative in order to make your page helpful to any page visitor.
  • Since you want someone in that new market to do business with you, consider some sort of incentive (if you are legally permitted) to have them contact you.   If nothing else, make it easy to have that person contact you.
  • However you can, get links from authoritative sites in that new geographic area to link to your new page.  If you have to make a small donation to a charitable organization in that area, and have them link to your new page, then do so.  Otherwise contact a quality local SEO professional who knows how to get local links.
  • Make sure that the new page is in your website’s sitemap.  This makes it easier for any search engine to index/crawl the new page properly and quickly.
  • If appropriate, syndicate an online press release with a link to the new geographic-specific page.  Use a quality press release distribution service and attempt to have something truly “newsworthy” to share so that the press release readers derive actual value.  That “value” can vary, but make sure it is worth someone’s time to read the release!
  • Hire a good SEO professional to help you gain further trust online in the new geographic market.  The SEO professional does NOT have to be local, but it should be someone who understands the principles of gaining trust in any local market around the United States.

Wrapping This Up

Thank you for taking a few minutes out of your day to read this post.  I hope that you now understand a bigger picture of search engines, from the perspective of the search engine company.
Remember that by doing so, you likely can:

  • Make your website (or parasite page) more authoritative, trustworthy, and relevant in the search engines and get your phone ringing more
  • Cut your overall marketing and advertising costs because you will be much more precise with your budget
  • Have higher odds of longer-term rankings because every time something is published on your behalf it is quality and looks natural.  This likely would cut your costs because you wouldn’t need to “stampede” into pay-per-click advertising and make high-cost mistakes in the process
  • If the quality is good you even may have people voluntarily share it with their friends and colleagues.  This cuts your costs to acquire a new customer/client

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about how a deeper understanding of this big picture can help your business grow by, hopefully, making the phone ring with new customers or clients!

Press Release SEO Benefits – Are There Any Still To Be Had?

A recent conversation came up in the online marketing community about the effectiveness and benefits of press releases for SEO (search engine optimization) purposes.  With so much “clutter”, and with any small business able to purchase low-cost distribution of its “news”, many SEO gurus have written off using online press release distribution as a valid strategy to improve SEO rankings.

The question is if whether or not to skip using online press releases as part of one’s SEO efforts.  The answer is if you used them in the way they were used in 2008-2010 then their importance has diminished considerably, and using an online press release distribution service for SEO benefits will have to drop significantly in terms of priority on the checklist of actions to be taken.

If, however, you apply some of the advanced methods then you actually may find that online press releases actually can benefit you quite nicely from a SEO perspective!

These advanced methods include:

  • Having truly legitimate “newsworthy” content to share
  • Geo-targeting
  • De-optimized anchor text to the company website (home page or other)
  • Linking to one’s social media properties
  • Linking to one’s “Tier 1 properties”
  • Embedding YouTube videos (or other online videos) which already are optimized properly
  • Intelligent link building to the press release URL
  • Backlinking to the press release channel URL
  • Having “evergreen” content to be worthwhile long after the event was deemed to be “fresh” news
  • Leveraging the press release URL to authority websites and bloggers seeking guest content

There is a ton to discuss in each of the bullet points listed, so feel free to contact me with your questions.

Here is one of the recent article’s where experts call into question the effectiveness of online press releases, and you will see my first comment at this link:

 

Stock Trading Lessons For The Selection Of Local Keyword Phrases

Greg, from Search Simplicity, recently asked me to contribute a guest post about helping select solid keywords for local search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.  Often, people only target two or three keywords.  By borrowing from the short-term stock trading principle of “multiple time frame analysis”, one can become much more artful in choosing keyword phrases to help accomplish the ultimate goal of any local SEO campaign:  getting the phone to ring consistently with first-time new customers or clients!

Here is the link to the article:

 

Greg modified the text a little bit in order to emphasize his recent real estate SEO post & industry-specific service.  That is fine with me.  Just know that when you see the word “plumber” that was the original example I used.  He did his best to modify, so I am okay with the adjustments.  Remember, it is his blog and I granted him the professional leeway to modify the text to serve his needs as well!

Feel free to contact me with your questions and if you would like to schedule an appointment about your local SEO efforts, not just the keyword research and selection process.   Thank you and please consider sharing this post (or the specific URL on the Search Simplicity blog) with those whom you think might find it useful.

LinkedIn SEO For Small Businesses

Thank you to Mike Kawula for the opportunity to contribute to his recent blog post about tips to help small businesses use LinkedIn.  There were some pretty interesting, and potentially helpful, tips in this post:

One thing I mentioned is how an optimized LinkedIn page (personal page or company page) can be optimized for the search engines.  Most people don’t know that it is possible for their respective LinkedIn pages (including a company’s product/service pages) to rank in the search engines for specific phrases.  Consider adding this strategy to your SEO efforts by using intelligent link building services to your LinkedIn page.

Feel free to contact me with your questions.

Google Penguin Update Recovery Tips Podcast

The other day I was invited by JenningsWire/AnnieJenningsPR.com to be the guest on a podcast.  I was asked these kinds of questions regarding the recent Google update and what kind of Google Penguin update recovery tips may be useful to help businesses (both local and national) improve their search engine optimization (SEO) efforts:

  • Google had its Penguin 2.1 update in the beginning of October. What took place?
  • Why is link building still important? Shouldn’t people just be focused on social media now?
  • Some SEO professionals recommend to their clients that they build links in “tiers”. Why do you think this is the case?
  • What else is missing from most companies’ SEO efforts?
  • Researching keywords has changed recently as well. What recommendations do you offer that are unique and not commonly suggested?

You can listen to the podcast here or click the image below:

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The audio content is roughly 10 minutes long.  One of the topics we covered is about using intelligent link building in the upcoming months.  Click this link for more information to read a recent article about which types of links to consider for your new link building efforts.

Reaching The Entire DFW Market

Some business owners throughout the Dallas Fort Worth region truly can serve the entire DFW market and even additional markets.  Unlike smaller services which can serve a realistic radius of 5-10 miles (or an even smaller radius), these businesses have a different vision such as:

  • there is enough profit margin in the transaction to justify the time and expense to travel to a small town across the DFW Metroplex and conduct business
  • the business is so unique, or perceived to be so specialized, that prospective customers across the region want the product, service or other benefits associated with the particular business
  • the business can ship products and/or already has representatives near to the smaller towns in DFW

One question is which types of businesses can justify marketing to a wider radius than just the regular small 5-10 mile radius which is common with many local businesses?  Another question is how to reach the smaller towns without having to become a member of each local chamber of commerce or placing ads in every newspaper or print publication across the region?

Types Of Businesses Which Qualify

Here is just a short list of the types of businesses which can pursue larger-radius marketing at the DFW level or even state-wide:

  • Corporate relocation services
  • Specialty legal and financial services
  • Industrial products
  • Higher end home improvement services (e.g. interior design, remodeling, etc.)
  • Custom home builders
  • Surveyors
  • Higher end home repair services (sewer line installation, etc.)
  • Etc.

How To Reach All Of DFW And Beyond

The first thing you need to know is that there are over 200 towns and cities which comprise the DFW region.  This is not just Dallas, Collin, Denton or Tarrant Counties either.  The neighboring counties also are included as there can be highly-qualified prospects in the small towns throughout every DFW county.

To narrow down the options of how to reach these people, and do so in a budget-sensitive manner you have a few options:

  • TV ads — obviously you must be hyper-vigilant about your budget and any tracking you can generate here
  • Same with radio ads
  • Classified ads are a great way to get exposure.  Be sure to optimize your ads to include the towns and cities which you serve; and be sure to play nice by the terms of service and posting rules for the various online classified ads you intend to use
  • Direct mail targeting specific neighborhoods in specific zip codes.  A good mailing list broker, who can highly target your prospects across the region, would be a very wise investment here
  • Paid press release distribution can be beneficial, especially if you mention specific towns in your content
  • Pay Per Click (AdWords) is a smart way to start.  You can target each specific town, but you want to send the traffic to optimized (town-specific) landing pages on your website.  Also, be sure that there is some sort of benefit easily visible to the prospective customer and a “call to action” (e.g. “call today” or “download this coupon”)
    • Note that there are other pay-per-click services besides Google AdWords, Yahoo’s advertising, and Bing’s advertising services.  Please contact us for these alternative options where your competition may not be advertising
  • For business-to-business (B2B) advertising in the Dallas Fort Worth region you may consider targeted advertising within LinkedIn
  • You can do demographic-based targeted advertising, especially town by town, in Facebook.  Just note that:
    • depending on the devices your prospects use, you may not get complete exposure on Facebook to those using mobile devices
    • you likely will have a higher conversion rate if you send the traffic to a page you control within Facebook.  Most Facebook users don’t like to be led automatically off of Facebook at first, so consider sending the traffic to Facebook page you control regularly which has consistently-updated benefit-laden content (coupons, discounts, helpful tips, entertaining videos, etc.)
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  This is one of the trickier, but possibly soundest ways to get hyper-targeted prospects.  You can have created for you a multi-niche website (or a blog which resides alongside your website) which has town-specific optimized pages.  Ideally, the content on each of the 200+ towns is unique including article content, images, any embedded videos, etc.  Just so long as the combination of text/images/videos is unique you should be good, especially for phrases people type in which may have relatively low competition in the search engines.

The latter option (the blog/website with town-optimized pages) gives you additional benefit.  For example, here is a website which has town-optimized pages for varying business niches.  Here is one for a series of highly-related niches.  And here is a site with optimized pages for just one niche.

The benefits here are:

  • That you can control specific content for each town or city in which you want to market.  For example, if you want to give coupons in one town but not another you can do so
  • You have optimized pages to which you can send your pay per click (PPC) traffic such as traffic Google AdWords.  This increases the odds of gaining a higher “quality score” for your ads (assuming everything else is done right) and possibly saving money by reducing your per-click costs
  • The optimized page could rank well in the search engines for the times when the phrase is entered alongside the specific town (e.g. “your business Plano TX”)
  • You even go “deeper” than the specific towns.  For example, if you want to offer incentives to people in specific HOA’s or parts of a town then you can do so.

If you would help on any of these topics then you are welcome to contact us with your specific needs.  Thank you for your time and consideration to share this post.