I love helping Local Businesses find new ways of increasing their bottom line. With Social Media and all the data-mining tools out you can market till your hearts content. I have allot of local businesses that follow me on the various Social Networks and they e-mail as well call me asking many questions from Marketing to SEO.
Since I usually blog about my local market that I live in which is less competitive as its a small area, I would help out a Local follower and their business in a more populated area in a more competitive industry. One of my new Followers on Twitter is Jason Brusewitz @BranchOutShrubs and I immediately took a look at his website: http://www.branchoutshrub.com/
He is in the Shrub Trimming/Landscaping Business and it looks pretty competitive in his local market.
He is on the Right Track Socially, However I do not see any link for Google+ or any +1 button. He has A Google+ Business page located here Branching Out. See my post on Increasing Citations using Social Analytics and Strategies on how to data-mine Google+ and Facebook. Increasing the Citations helps boost your local business rankings in the serps with Social Integration. I also recommend adding Authorship to help increase the CTR's and give more credibility.
I'm going to use a couple of social data-mining tools (Followerwonk & All My Tweets) for the tools too help boost his bottom line by finding personal advocates that will spread the word socially and help his business out in the search rankings.Props out to Anthony Pensabene for showing me these tools in some of his guest articles on various blogs.
Landscaping Woodbury, MN
Lets check out his rankings in Google. I chose "Landscaping Woodbury, MN" as its a more competitive search term and not as targeted as Shrub Trimming.
You can see his business does not rank on the first page for the query at hand.
I suggest Adding Geo-Tags to his website and pictures, also adding Alt-Image descriptions to every picture, I think I found 3 on his home-page that did not have any.
Add a Video to YouTube and link it to home page as well upload it to your Google+ business page.
Now that a little basic SEO is done, we can focus on data-mining to find personal advocates to spread the word and increase his links from social networks and websites to improve his local business ranking in the organic listings.
The first tool we are going to use is Followerwonk, this cool tool lets you analyze twitter Followers. Click on the tab for Analyze Followers and put in his Twitter handle. Next in the drop-down menu select "Analyze Their Followers" and give it a minute to populate all his followers. Since I'm looking for Local Advocates you can click on the Map and Zoom in to his local area and see who is following him.
There is one Follower in St. Paul and two outside of Minneapolis. I click on the 2 and chose Tim Ryan @SeamusPicMcGee and clicked through to twitter.
Tim Ryan Twitter Page
Tim Ryan has a website he can add a link too, He tweets allot and has a good amount of followers.
Tim Ryans All My Tweets
Using AllMyTweets we can see Tim also Mentions @BranchOutShrub.You can search using Ctrl+F.
I would Thank Tim for the Mention and ask him for a citation on Google+. Offer him some services at a discount, and he may just tweet about it again or share on other social networks.
From here you can go back to Followerwonk and analyze his local followers and find ones that have the greatest clout and influence to spread the word.
There is much more data you can dig into by using these tools. I would say a few times a week he should reach out to past clients and potential clients using these social tools to thank and ask them to spread the word. Social links will follow helping boost his rankings in as little 3-6 months possibly sooner.
Use the Map in Followerwonk to target local followers and engage with them on all social platforms. Use AllMyTweets to search the tweets of followers if they have mentioned other services you may provide.
Become the expert, share and re-share on Google + and other social networks, while staying in contact with your followers by engaging in a timely manner.
I hoped this help a little in helping out your Bottom line, this is tested, tried and true!
SEO For Local Search
The Panda Update was launched on February 24th 2011 and was known as the (Farmer Update) because people published dozens of low-quality, keyword stuffed articles, or their site was rife with spelling errors, duplicate content etc. Google went page to page on a given site and if it thought there was significant spam it devalued the site.
The Penguin Update launched on April 24 2012 and according to Google "Penguin is an important algorithm change targeted at web-spam. The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s existing quality guidelines.” This effected sites that used link farms, has to many backlinks with the same keywords etc.
Local Search has gone Social and Mobile, integration of Maps and Mobile Search into Smartphone devices, Tablets and Vehicles through applications are skyrocketing. More people are using their Mobile devices for online access every day and this trend will continue to grow for years to come. If you are looking to drive more foot traffic to a brick and mortar store or increase the visibility of your brand, optimizing for Local Search is the right move for search engine rankings and conversions.
So what do we need to do now to make sure we clean up our sites and gain back our Organic Rankings? This is the question I get constantly emailed and phone calls on every day.
First create a link report to see what sites and keywords are used to link to you with. Here is a Tool called Open Site Explorer that will do that for you. Visit those sites that you do not want linking to you anymore and email the administrator or webmaster asking if they can remove the link pointing to your site.
Second is to do on page and off page Search Engine Optimization, then submit a webspam re inclusion form (Link at bottom of post) to Google.
There are two important factors here we are going to look at, On-page and Of-page SEO. I know you have heard about this before and I'm probably sure you know how to do this but after the Penguin update there are a few tweaks you must add to these factors in order for you to gain back your Organic listing in the SERP's
*Update, Here is a Video called "SEO for Startups in under 10 Minutes" by Maile Ohye a Developers Tech Lead at Google.
On-Page Search Engine Optimization
Offsite Search Engine Optimization
After you have cleaned up the site using the Search Engine Optimizations guidelines above use the following Form from Google to explain what you have done and give an example of your efforts.Here is the link to the WebSpam Form for re-inclusion.
Ranking higher in the Organic Listings for Local Search can be achieved pretty quick as you are only competing with other Local Businesses. The use of Long-Tail Keywords also help as most of them are not as competitive as 1 and 2 word keywords. With everything going Social and Mobile, its a good idea to optimize your site for fingers and thumbs<----easy navigation.
There are much more factors in ranking a page in the organic listings and in fact Google has 200 such signals. No one knows the true algorithm except for search engines and the coders themselves. The best option is to keep up with the latest information in search engine news. Join Forums, Blogs and Social Networks that have Search Engine Marketing groups.
Remember, No true Search Engine Optimization Specialist can guarantee you first place rankings in the Organic Listings. While many claim they can, they probably could when it comes to non competitive keywords and for Local search it is much easier to rank. Let them show you results of their work and check out their following on social networks, this will give you a good idea of reputable companies!
By "Shawn Lippert"
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By "Shawn Lippert"