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The importance of local SEO in your marketing efforts

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The concept of local SEO may still be alien to some, but it is fast becoming an essential component for all businesses, online and offline. In particular, brands that seek long term search engine success.

So what exactly is local SEO?

This is the type of search engine optimization that is focused on providing relevant results to a user based on their current location. And this is a practice that has seen a sudden rise thanks to the increase in smartphone usage, combined with improved connectivity.

And although it has a lot of similarities with traditional SEO, there are some fundamental differences.

Care for some statistics?

Google recently revealed that one in three mobile queries in the United States are now local. Additionally 95% of mobile users look up local information on their phones. It goes without saying that this is one area of search that is set to become more and more prevalent in the years to come.

So how do you optimize for local search?

Luckily, Google have set up things that will help you get started. Google Places for Business, and Google+ Local combined with some simple on-page local SEO provide the perfect start towards optimizing your online presence for local searches.

Plus there is no shortage of online tools to analyze your local SEO rankings.

We will be going through all this in detail in subsequent articles on how to optimize your websites for local SEO, along with best practices, dos and don’ts.

Melanie Russell is a seasoned online business reporter and has been writing about the web for as long as she can remember.

8 Comments
  • Jen

    Great straight-forward information, Melanie! 🙂 The statistics are telling. This is extremely important for small businesses to consider when trying to establish a local base. Google seems like the way to go now.

  • Eddie84

    Google+ local is a fantastic tool for local SEO. Unless you’re strictly an online business, then local seo could be the best option for your new business. Nice post!

  • CholeCash

    Melanie- quick question: do you prefer Bing Local or Yahoo local and why? Thanks in advance!

  • Dtt23

    New news that Apple is using Bing as its default search engine on its new OS update to be released this fall. This could cause a HUGE increase in value for Bing Local. It may be smart to invest in that now.

    • Dennis

      Great point. I just saw this as well. Bing seems like the definitive next-best alternative to Google at this point!

  • Genie

    Melanie, you’re spot on with the statistics section. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been out to eat or just out in general with someone and we’re conversing and the convo leads to us googling something. Mobile devices are definitely key!

    • AceofSpades

      Very true. A lot of times it’s to research an obscure fact for me, but overall, there are definitely times I’m out and I’ll google restaurants or other businesses near me. Mobile importance cannot be stressed enough.

  • Chetty

    Great start, Melanie. I am eager to see the subsequent articles, because I could definitely use help on the dos and don’ts of local SEO.

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Find The Traffic Of Any Website With SimilarWeb

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If you have a particular site you are competing with, or just want to find out the traffic of any website or blog, there are a number of online tools that can help.

Most of them work quite differently from one another, in how they calculate the numbers, but solutions like Alexa, Quantcast, TrafficEstimate and even SEQquake provide valuable insights. Now you can add another neat tool to this list — one that goes by the name of SimilarWeb.

In theory, it is impossible to know exactly how much traffic a website gets, as that information is private to the owners of that particular website.

Tools that promises to provide these numbers does so based on their own research, algorithms and estimates. Some even include logs from Internet service providers in their statistics. Point being, you should always take this data with a grain of salt.

They are guesstimates, at best.

But still a good source to find out website traffic and demographic information. SimilarWeb works the same way, and one advantage it provides (against other such tools) is that a fair amount of data is available for free. Other provides charge monthly fees for access to their statistics.

So simply input the URL of a website that you want to gather some insights on, and the tool will give you a brief report about that site, along with their traffic estimates.

The numbers presented are quite close, though obviously not accurate.

Obviously, the bigger a site, the more precise an estimate it will provide. For example, TechCrunch lists on their ‘Advertise with Us’ page that they receive 34 million monthly page views. And sure enough, SimilarWeb provides numbers in this range.

However a lot of smaller sites are not enumerated, understandably.

As it stands, though, this probably is one of the better traffic estimation tool available online, and you can use it to gather some good results and compare how your sites compare with your competitors.

It also works with mobile apps, so give it a try at this link.

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Research and SEO

New Google Penguin Algorithm Update Being Rolled Out

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A new Google Penguin algorithm update is now rolling out. Although it was delayed by a week or so, the search engine giant has already begun the rollout of its latest Penguin update.

The company officially announced this a few weeks back.

In fact, the slow worldwide rollout began this past Friday, with the objective of reducing even more search spam than before. According to the company, webmasters may already have seen an impact already, though the effects are expected to be more noticeable in the coming weeks.

In the words of Pierre Far, a Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google:

“On Friday last week, we started rolling out a Penguin refresh affecting fewer than 1% of queries in US English search results. This refresh helps sites that have already cleaned up the webspam signals discovered in the previous Penguin iteration, and demotes sites with newly-discovered spam.”

Sounds pretty solid!

Those of you not in the know, Penguin is the codename for Google’s algorithm that decreases search engine rankings of sites that are found to be violating the Webmaster Guidelines that the company has put in place.

It focuses on artificial methods that are employed to increase the ranking of webpages — manipulation, in other words. Google has updated several of its algorithms these past few months, including a number of updates to Panda.

At the same time, the company has been hunting down individual sites and entire networks that it believes are trying to trick the system.

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Research and SEO

Google Starts Displaying Blog Posts In The “In The News” Box

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The “In the News” area is a highly diverse and decidedly vital section of Google search result pages, and the company has just made a very important change to it.

In addition to just regular news sites, the search engine giant has begun showing additional content in this portion. Content like blog posts, Reddit discussions, even videos. This is sure to open up new possibilities for people and businesses.

Sure, only three news pieces are displayed here, related to the topic — and they don’t appear for all search queries. But this is still an area that people take special note of when searching.

As this report notes, content in this box only came from Google News, meaning only some sites got in on the action, those that had approval from Google. But the company now wants to expand on this, and add in more content from a more diversified range of sources.

A bit of a game changer, this, as the search engine giant states:

“We will be pulling from all over the web which means that we will present as diverse a range of voices as possible to ensure we get users to the answers they are looking for. We are always working to give our users the best possible answer to their questions. That might come in the form of a video, a press release, a blog, a photo, a social media post or a news article.”

Powerful, powerful stuff.

Interestingly, this does tie into the recent algorithm update that Google just pushed out last month, where it said that small and medium sites would benefit from added exposure.

Sure looks like that this welcome move is a part of that puzzle.

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