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How to Effectively Optimize Your Website for Local Search



Local SEO Guide: How to Effectively Optimize Your Website for Local Search

Whether your business operates entirely online, entirely through in-store sales, or some combination of the two, getting the word out about your product or service will come down largely to how well you are able to rank in web searches.

In the digital age, ranking highly on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) for search terms that are relevant to your business is one of the main ways that new customers will find you. As a result of this, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become an essential component of any business’s marketing strategy.

While large brands and businesses with a global presence might compete for the top spot on the web’s most popular SERPs, for smaller, local businesses, a different approach is needed.

If you want to drive local traffic to your website, you don’t just need SEO, you need local SEO.

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO refers to the process of optimizing content for specifically localized search terms.

What exactly is meant by “local” will of course vary from case to case. At the very least, it will designate a specific country, targeting searches like “what is .ae domain?”—a query that is likely to be made by people with at least some interest in the United Arab Emirates and AE registration, for instance.

But country level SEO can still cover an awful lot of search territory, especially for larger countries. At the city or town level, a local SEO strategy might target queries like “electrician in New York” or “best croissant in Paris”, in order to attract the people who are looking for something in a specific geographic location.

Local SEO is important for any business whose sales depend on proximity to their customers. The obvious example is bricks-and-mortar businesses that sell physical products. Unlike some online businesses, these types of companies need a local SEO strategy because their customers have to be in the vicinity in order to make a purchase.

This article will explore four main ways you can increase your online visibility to people in your immediate area.

1. Citation Building and Local Links

Citation building is all about ensuring that your business information is correctly listed in all the relevant directories for your area.

Local links are links from websites that have a connection to the area you do business in.

Sources of citations and local links include local guides, community groups and forums, travel guides, business directories, and local press websites.

2. Optimizing for Maps

Because so many web searches these days are made from mobile devices, search engines have become adept at using geolocation data to deliver more relevant, local results.

SEO for maps involves optimizing for results in line with the regimes of contemporary search engines’ GPS systems.

3. Localized Search Terms

Localized search terms refer to searches that specify a location. When people make location-specific searches, the traditional factors for SEO—keywords and backlinks—still reign supreme, taking priority over the location of the device from which the search is made.

Targeting localized search terms should be an integral part of any local SEO campaign and is far more effective than many generic, non-local SEO tactics. For example, while the average ecommerce conversion rate sits at around 2–2.5%, this figure is often significantly higher for leads generated through highly specific search terms.

4. Third-Party Mentions

Getting mentions in local guides and media is an often overlooked aspect of local SEO. Sometimes, such guides don’t even link to your website, leaving prospective customers still a search away from your landing page and meaning you might never know where your traffic is actually coming from.

But that doesn’t mean that third-party media mentions don’t fall under the rubric of SEO. You can still optimize for such mentions, but the success of this tactic is harder to measure due to the indirect route by which it generates interest in your business.

Now let’s look at how you can excel in each area.

How to build Citations and Local Links

Citations are great because you can get your company’s information somewhere where people with an interest in the local area are likely to be browsing. You get to place a link to your website for free on authoritative websites and will likely generate some relevant traffic.

The basic idea behind citation building is to get your business’ name out there on as many sources as possible for maximum digital visibility. Citation building is an ongoing process. It requires that you maintain a list of key directories and regularly check them to ensure that your business is listed and your website is linked to.

You should also make sure all of the details are correct and up-to-date. This might not necessarily fall under the banner of SEO, but having things like opening times correctly publicized can help increase footfall to your business.

As well as directory-style websites, there are other hyperlocal sources of links. Links from smaller, community-oriented websites may not be considered a big prize in the global SEO game. For local businesses for whom in-store purchases make up a large part of their revenue, though, these links can be valuable. Even local Facebook groups and community forums can be a good source of local links.

Make sure you prioritize citation and local link building in your business strategy. If you use one, a cloud or on premise ERP can help you to do this in the most cost-effective way.

Optimizing for Maps

A related but distinct process to citation building, optimizing for maps forms another essential component of local SEO for businesses that are tied to a specific location.

Google uses GPS location data combined with its maps platform in order to show people search results that are relevant not just to what they’re searching for, but to where they are too. This is exactly what happens when you search things like “library near me”. Google uses your location at that time to locate the closest libraries.

Making sure you’re visible on digital maps can therefore help your business to appear in local search results, even if geographically specific terms are not included in the search.

To optimize for location-based search results on Google, make sure you claim your Google My Business profile. While Google will automatically create a profile for your business and fill it in with the available information, this is not always comprehensive and accurate.

Considering that Google prioritizes this listing among search results, taking ownership of your own profile is not only important for SEO, but also gives you far greater control over the information people see when they do find you in the SERPs.

3 Steps to Optimize for Local Search Terms

Optimizing for local search terms is the subdiscipline of local SEO that borrows most from classical SEO tactics, with an emphasis on keyword research and placement.

The three steps below outline how to optimize for local search terms by researching, narrowing down, and applying relevant local keywords and phrases.

1. Keyword Research

Modern marketers know that incorporating the right keywords into their content is an essential component of an effective content marketing strategy. In this respect, local SEO starts in much the same way as other forms of SEO—by researching a list of keywords that are relevant to your business.

Follow keyword research best practice by starting with common-sense keywords that describe your main business focus, and then using a keyword explorer tool to extend your list.

2. Keyword Localization

In legacy SEO, after creating your initial keyword list, the next step is to whittle it down to a smaller list of more specific phrases with lower search volumes that you will choose to target.

For local SEO, the process is much the same only in the whittling-down stage, you want to place an emphasis on geographically specific keywords. As well as highlighting these in your initial list, you can also add extra localized phrases by amending search phrases with “in location X” to make them more relevant.

3. Optimization for Search

Once you,ve compiled a list of localized keywords and phrases you wish to optimize for, the final step is to use them in your content. This can include website copy, blogs, social media posts, videos, and articles in local publications.

Earning Media Mentions

Getting mentioned in local media is an important part of local SEO that doesn’t necessarily rely on building links. Although it’s often possible to kill two birds with one stone by earning a media mention that also links to your website, even mentions that aren’t combined with a link can increase your search engine visibility and be a boost to your business.

Cultivating relationships with local press is a great way to get third-party mentions. Remember to target websites that cater to locals and those that are aimed at visitors to the area.

Mentions in top-ten style listicles are a great way to appear at the top of people’s search results that don’t necessarily result in a direct link. For example, the aforementioned search for “best croissant in Paris” returns pages of just such features rather than the website of any particular baker making the claim.

If you’re struggling to get local press coverage, try sending media organizations some pre-made materials. These could include discounts and product recommendations for maximum effectiveness.

Final Thoughts

If enterprise-level SEO can occasionally get away with focusing on traffic volume without much thought for traffic quality, the same is not true for local SEO.

Returning to the domain name search discussed at the beginning of this post, consider that most people searching “what is .ai domain” have little interest in the small Caribbean island of Anguilla, but may well be researching websites that focus on AI.

Avoid confusion and the wrong kind of traffic by focusing on unambiguous, low search volume keywords, and targeted local links and mentions.

With the advice in this guide, you should now know all about local SEO and how to implement it. Now all that’s left is to do it. What’s stopping you?

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The Ultimate Guide to Storytelling



The Ultimate Guide to Storytelling

Storytelling is an art.

Not a process, method, or technique. And — like art — it requires creativity, vision, skill, and practice. Storytelling isn’t something you can grasp in one sitting, after one course. It’s a trial-and-error process of mastery.


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How to Blog When You Have No Time



How to Blog When You Have No Time

Finding the time to blog is a frequent challenge for many marketers. Marketers often wear many hats and it can be difficult to focus long enough to churn out quality articles when you’re pressed for time.

How to blog when you have no time? We spoke with author and marketing expert David Meerman Scotton how to avoid common time management mistakes by developing a routine.

No matter what you’ve got on your marketing plate, it won’t get done without proper time management. Learning how to make the most of your time will greatly affect your productivity and overall success as a blogger.

Why is blogging time management important?

When it comes to creating content, maintaining consistency is key. This is why blogging time management is so important. You may not always feel motivated to create on a regular basis, but establishing a schedule will help you to stay consistent with your blog output.

For example, you may find that you’re better at writing in the mornings. So you can set aside 2 to 3 hours each morning to work on writing based on how many articles you’d like to produce each week.

Create a content calendar to help you plan your content in advance and set reasonable deadlines. Make note of holidays or seasonal events that may impact your content schedule.

Getting organized will help you set and achieve goals for your blog. If you’re starting from scratch, check out our guide to starting a blog.

How to Blog When You Have No Time

1. Use blog templates.

An easy way to jump-startyour creative process is to start with a template. Why suffer through writer’s block staring at a blank document if you don’t have to? HubSpot’s free blog post templatescan help you format your article and get started writing faster than starting from scratch.

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Templates function as an easy to follow outline where you can organize your thoughts and start to flesh out your content. HubSpot’s offer includes six templates ranging from how-to posts to pillar pages and infographics.

2. Develop a blogging routine.

In many ways blogging reminds David of exercising. In order to be successful at it, you will need to develop a routine. “It is programmed in,” David says. “It is about building it into your life and making it a second nature, like running in the mornings or doing yoga after work.”

Dedicate time each day to writing or allocate one to two designated writing days per week. Block time off on your calendar and turn off messaging apps to avoid interruptions while you write.

Once you’ve gotten organized and created a routine, you may find you had more time to write than previously thought.

3. Keep a list of ideas.

One way to save time coming up with content is to make sure you always have a running list of fresh ideas to work with. That way you’re not scrambling at the last minute for worthy topics.

Creating topic clusterscan help you flesh out your blog content strategy. A topic clusteris multiplearticles grouped by a shared topic or related topic. For example, you may have one pillar page that gives a broad overview of a topic. From there, you can create more in-depth, specific articles on related subtopics.

This will not only help you plan content but organize your site architecture as well.

4. Perform research prior to writing.

It’s much easier to write when you have all the pertinent information you want to include in one place. Research your chosen topic before sitting down to write and organize the information in a quick outline.

Include any keyword researchin this process so you can ensure your content aligns with what readers are searching for online. This way when you sit down to write, your only job is to write — not look up new facts.

5. Don’t edit while writing.

When writing it’s very tempting to want to stop and make corrections. Don’t do this. It breaks your writing flow.

Instead, write a rough draft withjust pops into your mind first. Follow your train of thought without stopping to fix typos or edit. The goal is to just get your thoughts on the page. Once your initial draft is written, you can always go back and make changes.

6. Perform article updates.

Another strategy is to build upon existing content by performing an article update. Giving your older content a refresh is not only good for SEO and your readers, but it can be a quick win for adding new content in a time crunch.

With older content, you may need to include additional research and update it for accuracy, but it generally takes less time than writing a new article from scratch. Review your existing content. Are there articles you can do a deeper dive on? Have there been industry advancements you can include? Is there a new angle to explore?

7. Find content ideas wherever you go.

By making blogging a life routine, you will come across creative content ideas much more frequently. Keep an open mind, observe new things that interest you personally and find ways to turn them into fodder for a blog post. By noticing world dynamics that get you excited and relating them to your audience, the process of blogging becomes a lot more natural and fun.

Accumulate content ideas from different situations in life and find ways to apply them to your industry.

8. Hire a freelancer.

Sometimes your workload is just too heavy and your efforts can be better used elsewhere. If you have the resources and budget to do it, hiring outside help may also be a great option.

Sites like Upwork, Contenta, and MediaBistro make it easy to find writing professionals. If looking to generate content on a larger scale, consider working with a content agency.

Blog Like A Pro

Creating content with a consistent cadence is an obstacle busy marketers frequently struggle with. Creating a schedule and mastering blogging time management will allow you to create even when you’re short on time.

This article was originally published in December 2010 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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How clean, organized and actionable is your data?



90% of marketers say their CDP doesn't meet current business needs

A customer data platform (CDP) centralizes an organization’s customer data, providing a single 360-view of each consumer that engages with the company. Yet there are still data-related considerations that organizations have to make beyond what the CDP does.

“[CDPs] were designed to fill a need – to enable a marketer to easily get to the data they need to create their segmentation and then go on and mark it from that point,” said George Corugedo, CTO of data management company Redpoint Global, at The MarTech Conference. “But the issue is that CDPs really don’t take care of the quality aspects of the data.”

Maintaining data quality also impacts segmentation, campaigns and privacy compliance challenges for marketing teams that use this data.

Data quality

The data in a CDP depends on the quality of where it came from. Therefore, an organization using a CDP must also consider the quality of the data sources and reference files used to build out the CDP.

“The inevitable question is going to be, how good is this data?” said Corugedo. “How much can I trust it to make a bold decision?”

This is something that has to be on every organization’s radar. For instance, when identity resolution is used, the issue depends on the quality of the third-party reference files. If they are provided by a telecommunications company or credit bureau as the data partner, those files might only be updated quarterly.

“It’s just not an optimal solution, but every single CDP on the market uses some form of reference file,” Corugedo stated.

It’s up to the data scientists and other team members working within the organization to own the accuracy of these data sources.

Read next: What is a CDP?

Segmentation and other actions

The quality of the data using specific reference files and sources will vary and will impact the confidence that marketers have in creating segments and using them when deploying campaigns.

Marketers have to make this decision at a granular level, based on the trustworthiness of data from a particular lineage.

“If they have a campaign that is reliant on suspect data, they can actually delay that campaign and say maybe we wait until that data gets refreshed,” said Corugedo.

Otherwise, marketers are just “spraying and praying.”

Using rules instead of lists

The advantage of having a CDP is unification of all data. But the data is being updated all the time. Instead of deploying campaigns based on a fixed list of customers, the use of rules to define segments allows marketers to update who they engage in the campaign.

“A list, as soon as it’s detached from the database, starts to decay because it doesn’t get any updates anymore,” Corugedo, adding that using lists takes longer to execute a campaign.

Lower quality from data that isn’t updated can have serious implications for healthcare and other industries, where accuracy is essential. 

“Instead, rules are passed through the campaign just like they would be with a list, but those rules reevaluate every time there’s a decision point to make sure that only the qualified people get the particular content at that point,” Corugedo explained.

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Privacy and regulatory compliance

Maintaining data quality through a Redpoint Global dashboard, or a similar combination of tools and data personnel, will also help an organization manage privacy.

The crucial point is that people on the team know where the data came from and how it’s being used in campaigns. The stakes for sending out relevant messaging are high. Privacy and compliance issues raise the bar even higher.

If you’re using a CDP, you can save headaches and extra labor by using a tool that has compliance and privacy baked in, so to speak.

“What we’ve done is embrace some of this complexity and absorb it into the environment, so the marketer never even sees it,” said Corugedo. “What we do is with every implementation, we will implement a PII vault that keeps PII data super secure, and we can anonymize the marketing database.”

This way, personal information of individual customers (PII) is never violated.

“Marketers ultimately don’t necessarily need to have visibility to PII,” Corugedo explained “They like to see it for testing purposes and making sure that it looks right and everything, but the truth is we can do that in other ways without revealing PII.”

Having a handle on data quality adds to the confidence marketing teams have in creating segments and executing campaigns, and it can also help protect the customer’s privacy and guard against regulatory infringements.

Facts not fiction: Beyond the CDP from Third Door Media on Vimeo.

About The Author

Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.

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