For many businesses, it is very important to be listed in Google Maps. If you offer a service or a product that is relevant to a special area, you might miss many visitors if your website is not listed in Google Maps.
Your website can be listed on page one, above the regular results
This summer, Google changed its algorithm so that the search results automatically include local results if relevant:
“We like to make search as easy as we can, so we’ve just finished the worldwide rollout of local search results on a map, which will now appear even when you don’t type in a location. When you search on Google, we will guess where you are and show results near you.”
These local results are often displayed above the first regular result on the result pages:
If your website is listed in the local results, it will be listed above the regular results on that page and people will also see the exact location of your business.
Quick access to your company information
If web surfers enter your company name in Google (for example “cafe habana, nyc”) they will get your company information at the top of the search results, above all other results on the page:
As you can see, Google will also show user reviews about your business in the results.
How to get listed on Google Maps
You can submit your website to Google Maps through Google’s Local Business Center. Login to your Google account and click “Add New Listing” to enter your company information.
How to optimize your Google Maps listing
There are several things that you can do to get a better listing on Google Maps or to make your listing stand out. You can enter your business information in Google Maps for free but to be listed at the top of the list, you have to optimize your entry.
- Enter as much information as possible about your company. Include important keywords in your description. Also add information about opening hours, payment types, etc. Choose the best possible category for your website.
- If possible, include images and videos to help your listing stand out. The more information you provide, the better.
- If your business location is in the center of the town, it is more likely that it will appear at the top of the list.
- Submit your website to other local directories. Google Maps compiles its local results by crawling and parsing data from other online directories and databases. A good position in online yellow pages can cause your listing to be placed higher on the list.
The more local directories list your website, the better.
- Optimize your web pages for local content. Add your city and state name in your web page title. You can also use local meta tags to tell search engines the location of your website.
- Get positive reviews. Encourage your website visitors to write positive reviews about your company on Google Maps. More stars can mean a higher position.
If you follow the tips above, your website will get a good listing in Google Maps. Do not spam Google and describe your business without exaggeration. Include your keywords in your company description but don’t overdo it.
In addition to being listed in Google Maps, it is important to be listed in the regular results on Google. Duh!
Here’s 5 easy internal linking tips that will improve your search engine rankings!
Most search engine spiders do not type into your search boxes and they do not use pull down menus. The following tips will help you to make sure that search engine spiders will index your web pages correctly:
- Your most important pages should not be more than one click away from the index page – Web pages that can be accessed with a few clicks from your home page are considered more important than web pages that are buried deep inside your website. It’s easier to get high rankings for these easy to access pages.
- Use descriptive link texts The text that you use to link to your web pages helps search engines to better understand your content. If you sell shoes on your website, do not use links such as <a href=”page.htm”>Click here</a> but descriptive link texts such as <a href=”page.htm”>business shoes</a>.That makes it easier for search engines to put the page into a context and it will be more likely that the page gets high rankings for the keyword “business shoes”.
- Create a sitemap – A sitemap is a simple web page that contains link to all important pages of your website. You could add a link to your sitemap in the footer of every web page. By doing this, search engines can find all important pages with two clicks.
- Check the validity of your HTML code – Errors in the HTML code of your web pages can prevent search engines from indexing your web pages correctly. For example, an HTML error might indicate the end of a web page before the actual content begins. That would mean that search engines would skip the content and any links of that page. You can access the official W3C HTML validator at http://validator.w3.org/.
Search Engine Optimization and Submissions Plans
Search engine optimization is not about getting as much traffic as possible. It’s about getting the right kind of website traffic. Sometimes, less traffic can be better.
Many website visitors aren’t necessarily a good thing
Many webmasters try to get as many visitors as possible. They join traffic exchange programs and they optimize their web pages for keywords that have very many searches.
Unfortunately, getting as much traffic as possible is not the right strategy for a successful website. Traffic that doesn’t convert is useless traffic. If your website has thousands of visitors but only a few sales then you have done something wrong.
Why less traffic can be better
If you want to succeed with your website, you have to focus on the conversion rate of your web pages. A website with a good conversion rate will do much better than a website with many visitors. Here’s an example:
- Tom’s website gets 10,000 unique visitors because it has a #1 ranking for the keyword “buy inexpensive brown shoes”. The conversion rate is 2%.
- Peter’s website gets 1,000,000 unique visitors because it has a #1 ranking for the much more popular keyword “shoes”. The conversion rate is .02%
Both websites will get 200 conversions. But why does Peter’s website get the same number of conversions as Tom’s although it has 100 times the number of visitors?
There can be several reasons for this. For example, Peter’s keyword“shoes” is very general. People looking for one-word keywords usually aren’t interested in purchasing. They are looking for general information about a general topic.
Peter’s landing page also might have a poor design. His website might not offer what the searcher is looking for. That is very likely if the visitor found the website through a one-word keyword.
Tom’s keyword “buy inexpensive brown shoes” is very targeted. Web surfers who use that keyword know what they’re looking for and they are ready to buy. That means that Tom needs fewer visitors to get a sale.
Multiply your revenue without working more
Four word keywords such as “buy inexpensive brown shoes” have much less competition than one-word keywords such as “shoes”. That means that it is much easier to get top rankings for these longer keywords.
Suppose it takes Tom five hours of optimization per month to maintain the #1 ranking. Each working hour costs $100. That means that Tom spends $500 per month.
To maintain the #1 ranking for the one-word keyword “shoes”, Peter has to invest 30 hours per month because it is much more work to get and maintain high rankings for such a competitive keyword. Peter’s working hour also costs $100, that means that the spends $3000 per month.
As explained above, both websites get 200 conversions. If each conversion is worth $15 then Tom has a ROI (return-on-investment) of 600% for every dollar spent on search engine optimization. Peter has a ROI of 100%.
If Peter had not invested his 30 hours in a single keyword but in optimizing 6 good converting four-word keywords that each needs 5 hours then he would have multiplied his revenue by 6 without working more.
What can you do to increase your conversion rate?
You can do the following to improve your conversion rate:
- Do not waste your time for getting vanity rankings. It makes no sense to get high rankings for one-word keywords.
- Optimize your web pages for multiple-word keywords that attract visitors that are ready to buy.
- Make sure that your landing pages contain a clear call to action and that the content of your landing pages is related to the optimized keyword.
- Make sure that your website has a professional look so that potential buyers aren’t turned off.
Search engine optimization is not always about just getting visitors. It is about getting conversions. Search engine optimization is about creating conversion paths for the traffic that comes from search engines. If you optimize your web pages for the right keywords then you’ll save a lot of time and you’ll get more conversions.
A number 1 ranking in Google’s search results for the right keyword can mean a lot of visitors and a lot of sales. That’s why so many people want to be on Google’s first result page.
Unfortunately, many people still don’t know what it takes to convince Google that your website is more relevant than the millions of other websites on the Internet. There are four simple rules that will help you to get your website on Google’s first result page:
Rule #1: Don’t try to fool Google
Google wants to return the most relevant web pages for a search query. They want to provide the best answer to a search query.
If you try to get a high ranking for a keyword for which your web page isn’t really relevant then you won’t get good results. Actually, you might be accused of spamming. If your website consists just of ads and affiliate links then it will be extremely difficult to get good rankings.
Make sure that your web pages will answer the questions of people who search for your keyword. The better your web pages match the interest of the web searchers the better rankings you will get. It takes some time to create good content but it will pay off in the long run.
Rule #2: Your web pages must show Google that they are relevant
A website about used car parts cannot get high rankings for a keyword such as “brain surgery”. A high ranking for the keyword “used car parts” would be very beneficial to that site.
The problem is that Google must be able to find out that your web page is relevant for the keyword “used car parts”. For that reason, you have to optimize your web pages. Optimizing your web pages simply means that you make it easy for Google to find out what your website is about.
When Google visits your web pages, it will analyze the following elements of your web pages:
- The URL structure
- The title tag and the meta tags
- The body text
- Headline tags
- Image alt attributes
- Your site architecture and the internal linking structure of your site
- The outbound links
- Many other factors in the HTML code of your web pages
Each element can contain your keyword and show Google that your website is relevant for that keyword. This doesn’t mean that you can simply insert your keyword in these tags and that’s it.
You can also over-optimize a website and that can get your website banned from Google’s search results. It’s important that you optimize the right elements and that you insert your keywords in the right frequency. Analyzing dozens of web page elements can be very time consuming.
Rule #3: Other websites must confirm that your web pages are relevant
In addition to optimized web page content, Google heavily relies on the links from other websites to your site. Basically, the other websites have to confirm that your website is relevant for a special keyword.
The more websites link to your website, the more visible it will be to Google. The more other websites use a special keyword as the linked text in the links to your website, the more important is your website for that keyword.
A web page that has been optimized for the keyword “used cars” can also get high rankings for the keyword “pre-owned cars” if enough websites link with that text to the page.
It is also important that the other web pages are related your site. If a website that is about vintage cars links to your “used car parts” website then this will have a bigger effect on your search engine rankings than a link from a candy shop website.
A link from a web page that only links to car related web pages is also more valuable than a link from a web page that links to all kind of pages. Getting the right links is crucial if you want to get on Google’s first result page. IBP’s link builder helps you to get these links.
Rule #4: Your website must have a clean history
The age of your domain and its history will also be considered by Google. A domain name that has been around for a long time will get high rankings more easily.
However, if your domain name has been used by spammers before, you might still suffer from the ranking penalties that have been applied to the previous content.
If you follow the rules above and change your web pages accordingly, your website will get top rankings on Google. It cannot be done over night but it’s definitely something that can be done within a few weeks if you do the right things.
There are many reasons a web site might just sit there and fail to achieve its goals. Some might be big and structural, such as not clearly defining the site’s objectives in the first place. Others might be small, like broken links or an unnecessary splash page. If you’re not happy with your web site’s performance, keep reading; you just might find your cause right here.
I have to say up front that you probably won’t find a lot of search engine optimization techniques, as such, in this article. I’m not going to explain how to choose key words for your web site, or go into detail on building back links. Instead, I hope to provide an overview of how to think about your web site, in case you’re having a problem seeing the forest for the trees. If you’re new to building an online business or web sites, you’ll find this a useful resource for what to avoid (and hopefully HOW to avoid it).
In fact, let’s approach this issue as if we’re starting a new web site. We know we want to start a new site. Why? Or, more precisely, what do we want this new site to do? Web sites shouldn’t just exist; like Princeton from Avenue Q, they need to have a purpose. Yes, it is certainly true that every business and many individuals have a web site these days; some have several. But they all do something.
Gary Klingsheim, writing for ISEdb, noted that a site could have one or more of several different purposes. A web site could be:
- Informational, storing articles, videos, and/or other kinds of content based on a particular topic or topics.
- Sales-based, designed to sell your products and/or services right from the web site.
- Lead-generating, designed to encourage customers to fill out forms with their information and interests.
- Some hybrid of the above types. For example, you might be set up to sell products directly from your web site, but also let customers fill out forms for more information. Or you could offer customers a subscription to a free newsletter in exchange for their contact information.
Until you settle on the purpose of your site, you won’t really know how to structure it. That will more than likely confuse your visitors, and confused visitors rarely return.
Know Your Audience
I hate to think how many times I’ve written that phrase, but it’s really important and bears repeating. Once you know your site’s purpose, you need to figure out who would be interested in what you have to offer. For example, a site named SexyShoes.com with a focus to match the name probably won’t appeal to men unless they buy shoes for their girlfriend (unheard of) or cross-dress (possibly more common, but definitely a niche audience).
You can be very specific when it comes to figuring out your target audience’s demographics. Consider gender, age, occupation, income levels, where they live, what they like to do for fun…the whole nine yards. If you’ve been around for a little while, you can even ask your customers to fill out surveys. A while back we ran a survey for visitors to our family of sites, and offered nice Dev Shed T-shirts to the first 300 respondents. We learned something about our visitors; it helped us with our sites’ focus.
But you’re not done once you find out who your audience is. You also need to find out what appeals to them if you want to attract them to your web site and convince them to spend some time there – or convert, if that’s your goal. To use an old cliché, if you’re designing your web site to appeal to heterosexual men, you wouldn’t use pastel colors. If you’re designing a web site to appeal to retirees, you might use a slightly larger default font in consideration of senior eyesight, keep the look of each page clean and simple (a good general rule in any case), and take extra care with your navigation. If you’re designing a web site to appeal to teen-agers, you’re (probably) not going to include articles on how to save for retirement, plan a wedding, or buy a home.
Knowing your audience also means knowing where they hang out online. As Klingsheim pointed out, “A link on a Harry Potter fan club forum to your website can bring in traffic, but does it really bring in the right customers?” If your web site is focused on the craft of making lace and sells supplies for this, you wouldn’t leave a link on, say, Dev Hardware, which is dedicated (mostly) to discussions of computer hardware and some software.
At this point I will mention key words, but only to say you should make sure you’re using the right ones for your web site. Popularity matters to some degree, but not as much as you’d think. True, you don’t want to optimize for key words that no one is using when they search. On the other hand, you don’t want to attract 1,000 random visitors who won’t convert, when you can attract 100 visitors who might.
Keep Your Site Up-to-Date
Believe it or not, there are such things as digital cobwebs. I’m convinced I’ve seen them on plenty of web sites. For example, have you seen a site with frames lately? Or one with a nice big splash page? How about the site that boasts the nice shiny flash video as soon as you get to it (whether or not you can skip it)? These features are bad ideas for a number of reasons. They represent a design aesthetic that is no longer appreciated – which is just a nice way of saying that they’re old ideas and they annoy your visitors. Worse, using these features makes it harder forsearch engines to index your site.
These items may not be the only cobwebs you need to clear from your web site. Do all of your links work as they should? I mean not only the links that go to internal pages, but the ones that leave your site as well. I caught hell once for linking to an external site that is no longer active. It’s hard to think like this when someone is yelling at you, even figuratively, but when a visitor brings this to your attention, you should be grateful, and fix it promptly; most visitors won’t care that much. They’ll just go elsewhere, and you may never know why. So check your links regularly!
You might also need to clear the cobwebs off your site’s content. Yes, content is a wonderful thing, but it’s less wonderful when it’s outdated. Do you really need information on your site about a product that you haven’t sold in over a decade? And how about the pages that cover special events or link to press releases? Is your last press release more than a year old? That’s a problem. A site with content that is visibly old looks neglected, and site visitors might conclude that you’ll be as neglectful in taking care of them as you are about keeping your web site up to date.
Forget About You, Think About Them
Thinking about what you’d like rather than what your visitors and customers would like is actually an easy trap to fall into. After all, when you design your web site, you do it with the idea of guiding your visitor along a particular path to get them to do certain things. But you can only do that to a point; visitors don’t necessary like to feel as if they’re being herded. They come to your site with purposes of their own, and they want to be able to accomplish certain tasks.
Rich Brooks, president of web design and Internet marketing company Flyte New Media, gives a great example of this problem. “What if you went into Target and they had organized everything alphabetically by manufacturer name?…That might make the lives of Target’s employees easier, but it doesn’t help the customer…Too many businesses organize their sites based on their products and services, and not on visitor needs.”
Dell’s home page serves as a good example of a company that got it right. It’s actually organized in a couple of different ways. Horizontally, near the middle of the page, they display links to take you to their selection of laptops; desktops and all-in-one; servers, storage and networking; printers, ink and toner; TVs, software and accessories; and support and help. Each of these links feature appropriate images above them to help guide customers.
But just past the “support and help” link is a vertical list of other links. These divide the information on the site into “solutions for” specific customer segments: home and home office; small and medium business; large businesses; government, education, healthcare and life sciences; and partners. By having both sets of links, Dell caters to visitors that think about what they need in two different ways.
Set up your site so that it will be easy for your customers to accomplish their goals. Don’t frustrate them by, for example, hiding your contact information or underlining words that aren’t links. If you recognize anything I’ve mentioned in this article as issues for your site, look into fixing the problems. You’ll find that you’re getting out of your own way when it comes to your web site‘s success. Good luck!
A few days ago, we showed you Google’s definition of a quick quality page (based on Google’s recently published search quality rating guidelines). If your website has the elements of a high quality page, it will get better rankings.
If your website has the elements of a low quality page, chances are that your website won’t get ranked at all.
What defines a low quality website?A low quality website is not the same as a spam website. According to Google’s quality guidelines, the following makes a low quality website:
- Low quality main content – The quality of the content is determined by how much time, effort, expertise, and talent/skill have gone into the creation of the page.If the content of your website has been created automatically, or if it has been created by copying or scraping other sites, chances are that Google will flag your site as a low quality website.Ironically, Google’s own content solely consists of scraped, copied and automatically created content.
- The web page must also have enough content for the purpose of the page. For example, a few paragraphs on a broad topic such as the second world war is not enough for an encyclopedia article.
- Lack of expertise, authoritativeness, or trustworthiness: To be considered trustworthy, some topics demand expertise for the content. For example, medical advice, legal advice, financial advice, etc. should come from authoritative sources in those fields.Even everyday topics, such as recipes and housecleaning, should come from those with experience and everyday expertise in order for the page to be trustworthy.
- Negative reputation: Most businesses have some negative reviews, especially for customer service. Google requires manual website raters to read the details of negative reviews and low ratings before inferring that the business has a negative reputation.
- Unhelpful or distracting supplementary content, poor page design: If the main purpose of your website is to get clicks on the ads, your pages won’t get a high quality rating.If your page is functional for its purpose, it is okay if it looks like it was created in the 90s (although this is not recommended).If your web pages are designed to shift the user’s attention to the ads, or if the main content is difficult to read, the pages will get a low quality rating.
- Lacking care and maintenance: Your website does not make a good impression if many links on your web pages are broken, if images do not load, and if the content feels stale or outdated. If you have a website with medical information, legal information, tax information, etc. then you must update it frequently because users expect information about the most current medical thinking, current laws, this year’s tax information, etc.It depends on the purpose of your website. A year without updates for a personal photo website is okay, several days without updates on a major news website are not okay.
Low quality websites do not get high rankings on Google.
There is no fast track to high rankings. Make sure that your web pages contain all of the elements that Google requires. The tools in our Internet marketing tool WebSEO help you to do that:
Improve your SEO with WebSEO Today!