Local SEO 7 pack condensed to 3 pack!

After some research, it appears that Google has changed all 7 pack map search results to a condensed 3 pack.

This changed rolled out in both the United States and internationally yesterday. Google usually doesn’t do global updates like that.

So what is a 3 pack? 

Previously, you would receive 7 listings with the opportunity to “view more,” but now it’s just 3 (you still have the option to view more.)

They have also changed the appearance of these listings (which we will talk a little bit more about in a minute.)

Here is what you are use to seeing in the old 7 pack!

 Landscaping-in-Nashville

The appearance of listings has also changed  quite a bit.

Previously, you could see the phone number and address of a company from the initial search page. Google has changed it to where you have to click through the listing to gather this information  now. The reviews no longer say “Google Reviews,” they’ve removed the word Google. The opening and closing hours are also visible, showing the most relevant time depending on what time of day it is.  On mobile devices, there is a “call” button  which is quite prominent.

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 5.56.49 PM

When you click a link (except the website button) it will open up a map with 20 additional listings visible as well.

Here is the new look when you click MORE CPAS:

google local seo chattanooga  fly out view

 

A Google spokesperson said:

“We are constantly exploring the best way to bring a better search experience to our users. This update provides people with more relevant information, including photos, reviews and prices, for searches that have multiple results for a given location.”

 

The Condensed Version Of Local SEO

When it comes to local SEO everyone seems to play by a different rule…. “I need 1 million links and 500,000 citations…”

*Sigh*

Below is local seo summed up in 100 words.

1.) On-page + Keywords

Target a few primary keywords, but make your site look natural and create a BRAND!  Please, PLEASE don’t use your keyword plus city 100 times on you home page!  You want to make it easy and natural to read.

2.) Create Google Business + Social profiles

Go to Google My Business and submit your information. A Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin profile are a must, but I would also also recommend setting up a Youtube channel and Pinterest page.

3.) Create 10-20 high quality Citations

You can find the top ones here or simply Google the top 20 citation sources in the US. I would also recommend looking to see if there are any local niche directories you can submit to as well!

4.) Write a press release and distribute

This helps add diversity to your link profile and  hopefully create a little bit of buzz about your local business.

5.) Generate 5 High Quality Links

Easier said than done, but you can either pay someone or simply ask to write a Guest post on another website in your niche.

That’s it, that’s the short version of local SEO, if you do these 5 things you should rank on page 1 for your industry + location keyword.

What NOT To Do In Regards To Local SEO

At Nooga Labs, we work day in and day out to assist our clients with local SEO (Search Engine Optimization.) Local SEO means you do not only want to rank globally, which isn’t very beneficial for local businesses, but you want to rank locally, where your results will be much more beneficial to your company, as you’ll become visible to those living in your area. Whether you’re a one location shop, or you have many offices throughout the state/region, local SEO is how you’ll gain the most new clients.

We have shown you how to rank locally, so now we will show you some things you SHOULD NOT do.

#1: No need to over-do it on the registries

A directory is a compilation of listings for consumers to find businesses. There are many different registries. At one time, you could just submit your business to many different directories and your ranking would improve drastically! Services even exist to handle this process for you. But, this isn’t something you want to do. There are a few reasons…First, links from low-quality sites don’t help you, so it’s a waste of time and/or money. There are only a couple of directories people use regularly, such as Yelp. There are a few popular registries for specific niches as well, such as Avvo for lawyers.

It is more beneficial to ensure your profile on the strong directories are as complete as possible, instead of spending a little bit of time or many other registries. Have pictures on your profile, respond to customers, have accurate contact information, and check back regularly. This will be the most influential in your SEO ranking.

#2: Have the right content

There are many moving parts to local SEO, such as maps, reviews, and so much more. But, if your site is not considered strong and valuable, you will not rank well.

Your website will be considered valuable if it has relevant content. You should update this content regularly to ensure your position within search engines. Blog posts are a great way to keep your content fresh!

 

Stop Replicating Pages!

People often create multiple pages within their sites for different cities, in an attempt to gain more traction. This content is not considered to be valuable, and could ultimately hurt you in the long run. Try to create different content for these pages in order to help your local SEO within these different service areas.

 

As I mentioned before, there are many different pieces to local SEO, and it can be quite overwhelming at times. Following these simple steps will have you well on your way to page #1.

 

The Importance of Local Search Listings

What’s local search? This:

 

local search results

Pretty simple, right?

Believe it or not, there is an easy way to parse this complicated graphic down to a level that’s easy to understand.

Nooga Labs wants to help your business succeed in search results by taking advantage of the local search ecosystem, something that dilutes typical search ranking factors and creates results on a local level first.

There are many aspects of local search: links, content, mobile-responsive, search-engine-friendly websites, social media marketing, and more. But the most important aspect of a local search strategy?

Local listings.

Listing Management and Local SEO

Not just claiming one local listing, creating an incomplete listing, or even a few randomly scattered listings; but a robust, qualitative local listing management strategy that ensures your company’s basic information – name, address, phone number, website, and so much more – is listed correctly, in an optimized manner, and placed everywhere it needs to be.

Because of our knowledge of how search engines pull local listing information, Nooga Labs has created an efficient manner for your business to get all the listings it needs and none of the listings it doesn’t.

By letting us take care of local listing management for you, your business can forget about appearance and performance in search and let our local listing management skills increase your business’ appearance in search, local packs, and drive more visits to your website.

Why You Should Care

Still not sold on the benefits of local search? There are countless studies and reports that confirm the effectiveness and power of local search from both a clicks and web visits perspective and a consumer intent perspective.

Your customers are looking for your company online using search engines and other popular platforms, and if your website isn’t listed in a complete, optimized manner it not only makes your business look bad, it likely means you’re losing out on customers!

This data – from Google and other professional, reliable sources – just begins to scrape the surface of how powerful local search is regardless of the user’s device, specific location, or purchase intent.

Looking up business information is relevant to all customers – new and returning – those who are looking to buy, or just looking for basic product information, and everything in between.

 

If you need help optimizing your local business for search, stop trying to figure out this incredibly complicated ecosystem by yourself.

Nooga Labs will gladly work on creating and maintaining local listings for you in order to increase your business, create a more professional appearance in search results, and get a jump-start on your customers.

How is My Website Performing in Organic Search?

We use a variety of metrics to evaluate a website’s performance in search engines. These metrics mirror that of the industry-standard and give the business owner – and the SEO strategist – clues as to what’s effective, what’s not, and where the opportunities lie.

Some of these metrics include – but certainly aren’t limited to – ranking for relevant search terms, amount of organic traffic, conversion rate, and the number of new visitors to the site arriving from organic sources.

 

Typically, marketers and their clients will look at one thing – and one thing only – when trying to measure an SEO campaign’s impact: rankings. This is a critical mistake. Nooga Labs does track rankings, but we steer clear from making that our top key performance indicator (KPI).

Why? Because rankings can be deceiving. Extremely deceiving.

Let me give you an example. If you type in your business’ target keyword and your website link is the first organic result, great! Right? Wrong. Did you know that personalization (being signed into Google), browser history, location, and data from your social media profiles can all skew organic results?

Take that same search, but do it in an “Incognito” window in the Google Chrome browser. Incognito mode eliminates all these factors – personalization, location, etc. – and gives you a much truer set of results. Where’s your business’ website when you search for your target keyword now? Can’t find it?

That’s why ranking should not be a top KPI in your SEO campaigns.

Need help determining your website’s performance in organic search? You’ve come to the right place. Running an SEO campaign is confusing for anyone but an expert and could have disastrous effects if “SEO tactics” are done by somebody who isn’t in the industry daily. We’re living in the search world 24/7 and would love to help you measure your past, present, and future success.

How Important Is Local SEO?

How Important is Local SEO?

In short, very important.

The importance of local SEO is equal to the importance of the public’s ability to find your brick-and-mortar location.

Have you ever been on vacation in another town and had trouble finding a particular restaurant or business—or even the street it was located on—even after asking the front desk clerk at your hotel for directions?

A business can be located on partially hidden side streets or away from heavy-traffic roads, minimizing the amount of people who see it naturally. Unless the business moves, the owners have to rely on other means to make their company more visible.

Things work the same online. You get to choose whether or not your company’s website is located at a busy intersection in the heart of downtown or down a random side street 40 miles from town.

People should be able to find your business when they search for it—and find it easily. Not only should your business appear for branded terms, but also for non-branded keywords that describe your industry and the products or services you provide.

Creating, claiming, and/or optimizing your local listings ensures you’re feeding correct information to users and search engines, so when people go to their search engine of choice, they find the business they’re looking for. If you’ve invested in local listing management, that business they’re looking for will be yours.

This is local SEO.

Local SEO is one of our specialties, and we’d love to help your story spread locally, regionally, and nationally. If you’re interested in finding out where potential customers are searching for your business, which websites your business should be listed on, and how to increase the number of organic leads through your site, give us a call.

How Do I Build Links to My Website?

The Million-dollar Question: How do you build links to your website?

You know a little about SEO. You’re aware that your site should be optimized for certain keywords and easy for visitors to use. You know it should have a large, quality backlink profile in order to increase the authority of your domain, thus increasing traffic and leads from organic search. But how are you going to build links to your website? That’s the million-dollar question.

Okay, it might not be a million-dollar question, but it’s a big one.

 

For years, SEOs and other inbound marketers have known about the power of links and how they correlate to better ranking and more traffic from search engines. Unfortunately, spam artists began to flood the market and link building strategies quickly progressed toward fabricating results rather than earning them organically.

Have you attempted to build links in the past for your brand’s website? Your business’ existence could be on the line.

Spam is taken extremely seriously by Google, Bing, and other relevant search engines. Businesses have seen their online performance fall through the floor due to their sites being hit by a variety of different search-induced penalties. Most of the time, the penalties were the result of poor link building strategies centered around spam tactics.

Most business owners and webmasters aren’t aware of the harm a spam link does to their sites’ organic search visibility. If you take your online marketing efforts seriously, you should let a professional oversee ANY link building campaign.

Luckily, we have a professional SEO team willing to work with any client, regardless of a site’s size, scope, or backlink profile. Don’t fret, just holler. We’ll get in touch and make sure your link building strategy is natural, optimized, and increasing your website’s search visibility.

Which Keywords Should Your Business Target?

When it comes to discussing SEO with marketers and businesspeople, there is perhaps no more misunderstood or more misused term than “keywords.” While most folks with at least a passing knowledge of digital marketing are familiar with the term and use it to show their general awareness of SEO, their perception of the importance of keywords and how to use them is often off base. Their main concerns are usually the number of keywords they should be focusing on, how many times a target keyword is mentioned, how many times it appears on each page, something about “keyword research,” how many pages mention a particular keyword… quantity, quantity, quantity.

STOP.

The question everyone should be asking is: Which keywords should I target?

Answering that question will help you find real, valuable answers that have real value your business. Real keyword research is all about the user, not Googlebot. Choose your keywords based on search history, trends, and the way your target consumer talks about your products or services.

Your website should talk about your business, its services, and anything else relevant to the customer. The keywords you’re targeting will naturally present themselves on those pages, making your website relevant for the search terms you hope will produce organic traffic. When you follow this approach, the rest of your keyword research will make a lot more sense.

Keyword research is a complex topic. Finding the right tools and strategies is essential to finding the right keywords, targeting them appropriately, and making your business more marketable on the web. We can help. Contact us today.

Link Building the Right Way: Questions to Ask Before Getting Links for SEO

 

 

Link building is a buzzword in the search industry and for good reason. What many believe to be the most powerful correlation to ranking higher in search engine results, the art of link building has transformed from something automated to something highly specialized and unique. The story of link building itself and its transformation has been written a thousand times over, and we simply don’t have time to cover the entire history in this post. That’s what summaries are for.

The short and sweet of it is: Google – and to a lesser extent other search engines as well – has cracked down on examining the quality of links pointing back to your website. Spam websites or directories, techniques that involve hiding links, and article spinning are just a few examples of links that may result in your website receiving a manual penalty. Major losses in organic search traffic will ensue, and if you’re not careful, you could lose your business. There are countless examples, so let me know which ones I’ve forgotten and should’ve included instead in the comments.

 

There Is a Right Way to Get Links

If you’re attempting to acquire links to your website the right way, here are 15 questions to ask yourself before getting a link to your business’ website.

Did I pay for the link in any way, shape, or form?

Paying for links used to work. Now, Google and other search engines have been extremely clear: paying for links will get you penalized. It’s pretty easy to tell if you’ve paid for a link, and your business isn’t worth risking traffic and business leads through organic search. If you paid for the link in any way, shape, or form, it’s not a link you’d like to acquire.

Is the content linking to my page relevant to my customers?

The page the link comes from should be relevant to your local business. If you make blue widgets, it probably makes sense to receive a link from a blue widget manufacturer’s page or a blog post that reviews blue widgets made by your company and your competitors. If your customers are unlikely to be interested in the content that’s linking to your website, they’re probably never going to care about the piece of content linking back to your website.

Is the link site-wide?

One notoriously “spammy” link tactic that will trigger a red flag with Google is getting a site-wide link. Site-wide links are from domains that link to you from every single page of their website. There is literally never a reasonable use for this and you should never pursue acquiring a link that is site-wide.

Can the webmaster of the site linking to you be contacted?

“Contact Us” pages are extremely popular across websites of all shapes and sizes. If there’s a relevant industry website that you’re thinking about getting a link from, but can’t find any information on how to contact the business or where the business is, you should pass on this opportunity. It’s almost definitely a spam website.

Recognizable brand name?

The popularity of the company’s brand name you’re hoping to get a link from is something to take into consideration. Now, you can’t only seek links from major national sources like Mashable and the New York Times. What about the local and regional communities? If the brand has credibility and owns a powerful online presence, that should reinforce your hopes of getting a link back to your website from them.

Would you still want to acquire the link if search engines didn’t exist?

This is a really cliche question in the SEO industry, and I didn’t want to include it because of that reason. However, the logic behind it is good. Search engines use links as one of hundreds of different identifiers to determine which websites are most relevant for a particular string of keywords. You should be getting a link from another website because it will produce sales leads, is good news coverage and exposure, or will grow your business in any way — not because you think Google will rank you higher. Another way to ask this question is, “Would you acquire this link with Matt Cutts or Duane Forrester looking over your shoulder?”

What’s the catch?

Reciprocal linking is the act of (essentially) trading links. If acquiring a link from a relevant business requires reciprocal linking on a large scale, requires payment, or anything else the search engines may deem unnatural, the catch probably isn’t worth your trouble.

Where is link located on the website?

This won’t necessarily stop you from acquiring a link, but rather help you understand which links are more valuable than others. Links included in an article that appears above the fold, for example, are typically more valuable than links included in the footer. If a link to your website is included at the beginning of a blog post that was inspired by a piece of content currently on your domain, the link is essentially acting as a source, giving that webpage extreme value from both a user and search engine’s perspective. On the other hand, a link in the footer speaks to it being an afterthought, unimportant, and may even be the result of poor linking practices.

What other websites does the domain link to?

The SEO community is blessed to have so many wonderful free tools that help us do our jobs better. There are several tools — free and paid — that help with analyzing the link profile of websites. One effective way to evaluate the legitimacy of the website linking to you is by seeing what other websites they’re linking out to. Do they link to and source other industry leaders? Or do they link out to almost any website regardless of industry and business type.

Does the website have active social accounts?

Social media went from being a fad to having a major impact on search results seemingly overnight. But I don’t want to talk about the impact of social media on search results, rather just common sense. If the company has active social accounts that produce a lot of great, unique content for their followers to share and engage with, that’s a positive sign about how the company operates. If no social accounts exist or, even worse, the accounts exist but there’s no engagement or following to speak of, that should prompt you to dig deeper about the company you may be receiving a link from.

Would your competitor want a link from this domain?

Put yourself in your competitors’ shoes and stop thinking about it from a search marketing perspective: if your competitor wouldn’t really care to receive a link from this website, then your business shouldn’t be worried about it either.

How easy will it be to acquire the link?

Other than dMoz, I’m not sure there’s a truly difficult link directory to get your website into. Hence why search engines began looking at directory links in mass quantity as a possible spam warning. Getting a link from the New York Times is difficult, but it would also be an excellent opportunity for a business to pursue. Links that are naturally difficult to acquire are difficult for a reason: they’d be incredibly ideal.

How likely is it that traffic from this link will result in revenue?

Now we’re drilling down to what really matters. At the end of the day, search marketing is about increasing your business’ revenue. Acquiring a link shouldn’t be about getting to the number one position in Google — which is barely even measurable in 2013. As an SEO, your goal should not be to increase traffic to a certain number per month or stabilize a website’s ranking in the top three for over 100 keywords. The goal is to grow the business through relevant traffic, sales leads, and revenue.

Would the link acquisition “win” be short-term or long-term?

A link that provides short-term value is far less superior than one that provides long-term value. Let me explain: a humorous, viral piece of content that comes and goes as fast as twerking did will drive a large amount of traffic to your website, but how likely are those visitors to become customers? On the other hand, creating an informative tutorial video that details and explains intricate problems within your industry and how to solve them is an evergreen piece of content that people will come back to again, again, and again. That content also establishes your brand as an authority, and will almost certainly attract business based on people seeing your video, understanding their unique problem, but not having the capacity to be able to solve the issue by themselves. That’s good business.

Will acquiring this link help me grow my business?

This. Ask yourself this question before you start any link building effort.