SEO v Local SEO. Do You Know The Difference?

local marketingSearch engine optimisation (SEO) is one of those terms that has become household by now.  A primary way of marketing a website online, SEO utilises strategies that can allow a website to rank higher on web searches.  After some time and effort, a sound SEO plan can allow your business to shoot to the top of a Google search.

However, not all businesses/blogs understand that there is a key difference between SEO and local SEO.  For a business that has a physical location, such as a store or restaurant, the latter is something that should be a part of the plan.  They both should be.

What does local SEO do?  There are searches on Google that could amount to a visitor finding your website, and then there are local searches.  These searches use a location, such as a search for a certain kind of restaurant along with a city that is desired.

Thus, someone can search for a business with “home security.”  If that’s your business and you are near the top for that term, then you have invested in SEO for that (and similar, hopefully) terms.  However, with “home security Auckland,” that’s a local search.  If that’s your business area and your location, then we’re talking about local SEO.

As you can imagine, each way can generate visits from search engines.  And when customers are looking for you locally, if applicable, optimal placement on local as well as basic SEO can come in handy.  SEO and local SEO are two important strategies that belong in every business’ plan, as applicable.

How Do You Rank Against Your Competitors in Local SEO Terms?

local seoLocal search engine optimisation (SEO) can emerge as an undeniably important part of marketing for local businesses.  If you have a business location in New Zealand or Australia, local SEO can help drive online traffic not only to your website – but to your physical location(s).  And local SEO can help you run promotions, connect to social media, and much more.

One simple key of local SEO is to analyse how a business is doing in relation to your competitors.  For instance, if you run a shoe repair store in New Zealand, you would want to know where you rank in the search engines for “shoe repair New Zealand,” which would perhaps be the most logical search string for a prospective customer at your business.  That’s the foundation of local SEO – taking advantage of “local searches” in your target audience.

Myles Anderson points out that research, benchmarking, and tracking are the keys to creating a local SEO roadmap that can lead to results.  He breaks it down into three steps:

  1. Identify the most lucrative search terms for the business.
  2. Identify the top ranked businesses for these terms or industry/location.
  3. Benchmark the business versus its competitors.

As you might imagine, this can become an in-depth process.  Indeed, Anderson breaks it down with a gamete of tools that the professionals use to quantify local SEO and produce results for their customers.  However, that isn’t out of reach for your business – the small business owner that doesn’t have a great deal of time to invest in these (often confusing) aspects.

Contact us at Onvizi to learn more about how local SEO can benefit your business.  We will be happy to answer your questions.  If you’re interested in obtaining local SEO gains, we can save you time and money by putting our expertise to work.

Google’s New Penguin Program and How it Affects Local SEO

When Google released its latest algorithm program this year, called Penguin, legitimate SEO companies and web content writers gave a sign of relief. Unsure of what to expect after last year’s release of an algorithm program called Panda, Penguin rewards websites that utilize White Hat (or ethical, reputable) search engine optimization practices.

The release of Google’s 2011 Panda program left many in the web development industry scrambling. In a nutshell, Panda rewards high quality sites with higher page rank. What the Panda algorithm searches for are websites that offer high quality content; content that is relevant and current. Low quality sites, that offer thin content, are not offered on first or second page searches.

Penguin adds to the power of Panda. This program is designed to identify websites that do not embrace the appropriate level of ethics presented in the Google Webmaster’s Guidelines. Websites that practice Black Hat practices, including hijacking and duplicating content, keyword stuffing, link-building schemes, and clocking, are now identified and not offered in search results. The aim of both these programs is to literally ‘protect and serve’ the general viewing/searching public.

During the early years of the world wide web, internet surfing became somewhat dangerous; dangerous in the sense that many sites harbored malware, spyware, and phishing techniques. There were hidden links that would redirect people to other sites, offering disreputable products and services. While some people may have enjoyed stumbling across some of these sites, many people found this practice offensive. As the usage of the internet exploded, search engines began to find solutions to prevent the fraudulent and possibly criminal ways of luring viewers to these types of sites.  Needless to say, many of these sites would employ Black Hat practices to increase their rank and traffic.

The algorithms in Panda and Penguin heavily reward what is termed ‘content-driven’ websites. They want current, reliable content that best serves the searching public. The days of loading SEO keywords on the backend of websites are waning. Though still practiced to help identify site content, keywords need to be naturally written within the content of the websites as well.

SEO (search engine optimization) is still considered a relevant practice to increase website traffic and assist the search engines in finding current content. With the recent roll-out of Penguin, though, we strongly encourage our prospective clients to use the services of a local SEO company like Onvizi. If you employ a SEO company that uses Black Hat practices, your website can be penalized and permanently damaged. With over 200 factors determining PageRank in searches, the length of the history of web address (URL) is an important factor. If your site is permanently damaged, you will need to start from scratch with a new (or young) site and rebuild your audience.

If you have any questions regarding SEO and how the new Google algorithms may affect your current site, or if you are in the process of building a new site, please contact us. We can help to demystify the PageRank process and optimize your website to increase traffic.

Local Businesses Need To “Wake Up’ And Implement Digital Marketing Solutions

Many smaller business owners often question the value of online marketing for their business.

internet marketing for local business

Before joining either camp, business owners looking for digital marketing solutions need to consider some of the latest research data.

Let’s start with Google’s report that 20 percent of all searches are local and that 73 percent of online activity is related to local content.

That alone should signal that people — yes even people in your area — are looking online for information, for shopping, for professional services and for entertainment.

Then there are a number of other research reports that are tending to show:

  • That the majority of online searches lead to offline purchases.
  • That local online searches lead to site visits.
  • That the majority of most customer spending is done close to home.
  • That the majority of people now use the Internet instead of phone books.

Given that data, local business owners who are not using the Internet for marketing are clearly missing a significant opportunity of attract new business.

Local business marketing was once placing a few print ads, putting a nice sign out front, and maybe a little broadcasting. The big marketing driver for many small business was word of mouth. Those strategies today have lost much of their effectiveness.

The Internet enables business owners to expand the reach of their advertising for less money, put a sign out where people can see it without having to drive by, and have more influence on word of mouth by interacting with customers and addressing concerns. Internet marketing puts more control over marketing in the hands of the business owner.

If you are not effectively marketing on the Internet, you are missing a key business strategy. If you are, and you aren’t getting the results you expect, maybe its time to call for some help.

Internet marketing focused on reaching those potential customers in your area can help you drive your business forward. Contact us and let us show you how.

Why Local SEO is Important for your Business (and 5 tips to implement it)

local searchLocal search engine optimisation is always part of the strategy that aims at diverting local traffic, to your business website. It’s a common thing for internet users to perform local searches for certain products and services. This is where your company can use Local SEO as a marketing tool to attract the local customers to your website.

This internet marketing technique basically works by making the search more “location specific” and this increases the amount of traffic flowing to your website. This also helps your website get a higher page ranking in local search engines.

This technique will help your business earn more profit as more visitors come to your website and want to buy your products and services.

Here are five local SEO tips for your business:

1. Any local search engine optimisation always starts with good planning for the best results to be achieved.

The planning will also assist internet users to accurately locate your business. It is essential to first increase the online presence of your website so as to increase the success of the local search optimisation technique.

You can use services such as:

  • Google maps
  • local city search
  • list your company in web directories
  • press releases
  • and set your geographic preferences accordingly.

2. The next step will be to analyse deeply the current performance of your website. This will greatly help in planning later stages and also weighing the results.

3. Have a well laid down campaign strategy. Consider getting additional optimisation through local PPC or link building techniques.

4. You should then submit your website to the local directories, national directories as well as search engines. It is preferable that you choose a GEO targeted campaign since it is always more effective in attracting the local traffic.

5. Finally, make sure that you analyse monthly reports for your website so that you can guage the success or be able to determine needed improvementes for the strategy you are using.

These are just the basics, there are lots more to learn. So for more tips and information, please contact us.

Google’s Panoramic Photos Add to Digital Marketing Solutions

Google continues to expand its service offerings and they are currently in a pilot project that could be exciting to business owners.

Google is experimenting with a new feature on its Streetviews that will give businesses a chance to show off their location with a 360-degree, interactive pictures. The new project is currently being piloted in several countries, including New Zealand.

The new feature will give businesses seeking expanded digital marketing solutions a new tool that promises to put a little life into what up to now have been fairly static marketing pages.

Gadi Royz, Product Manager for Google Maps, said in a blog post about the project:

“This experience, using Street View technology, includes 360-degree imagery of the business interior and storefront. With this immersive imagery, potential customers can easily imagine themselves at the business and decide if they want to visit in person.”

New Zealand business owners who use Google Places, which is being rolled into Google+ Local, can apply to the participate in the pilot.

The idea of showing potential customers what they can expect when they come into your business is exciting for many who are invested in social media and other forms of digital marketing. It’s one more valuable tool they can employ to tell their story and engage with the public.

The panoramic shots on Google pages can also be linked to business websites.

To participate, businesses must have a Google page. For more information on the project or participation, businesses can go here.

If you have more questions about how you can improve your businesses digital marketing, contact us.

Google+ Local could boost local marketing New Zealand

Google Plus localGoogle’s newest venture into local marketing debuted last week and provides a new tool for businesses looking to capture the public’s attention.

This newest addition to Google+ is one that anyone involved in local marketing New Zealand needs to study.

Google+ Local pairs Google’s typical link-filled package with Zagat reviews, incorporates user reviews and allows users to post reviews. The new product incorporates existing Google Places pages.

Google acquired Zagat last year and the debut of this new service is the first major effort that highlights that acquisition.

In a blog post introducing the new Local feature, Google’s Director of Product Management Avni Shah, said:

“Today, we’re rolling out Google+ Local, a simple way to discover and share local information featuring Zagat scores and recommendations from people you trust in Google+. Google+ Local helps people like my husband turn a craving — ‘Wow, I need brunch.’ — into an afternoon outing: “Perfect, there’s a dim sum place with great reviews just two blocks from here. Let’s go.” It’s integrated into Search, Maps and mobile and available as a new tab in Google+ — creating one simple experience across Google.”

A quick check of the new product in a search for places in New Zealand produced pages for a number of restaurants, hotels and attractions.

These pages included maps, photos, address and contact information, links to get directions, an overall rating and individual ratings and reviews posted by users, links to reviews on other sites, a link to the business website, and a section identifying similar places.

This newest Google Product also enables business owners to manage their location sites.

In the ever changing world digital marketing, Google’s newest entry raises the bar a notch. Business owners looking to stay a step ahead of the crowd and keep their social media presence growing need to evaluate this new product and manage it wisely. Businesses who have not yet claimed their Google Places pages should seriously consider doing that now.

If you want to discuss the new Google+ Local and how it might impact your business marketing, contact us.