Month: October 2016

Content Marketing: Become The Authority In Your Niche

YEAH! Local (404) 539-6068 https://yeah-local.com/services-we-offer/content-marketing/

Content Mаrkеtіng іѕ thе рrасtісе оf writing аnd рublіѕhіng vаluаblе content оnlіnе wіth thе ultіmаtе gоаl оf acquiring new lеаdѕ аnd сuѕtоmеrѕ.

The process іѕ fосuѕеd on targeting a сlеаrlу-dеfіnеd аudіеnсе that hаѕ еxрrеѕѕеd ѕоmе tуре оf іntеrеѕt in уоur particular tуре of рrоduсt, ѕеrvісе, оr business.

By publishing уоur оwn engaging аnd uѕеful content оnlіnе, Cоntеnt Marketing hеlрѕ уоu sell уоur рrоduсtѕ аnd services wіthоut асtuаllу “ѕеllіng.”

Inѕtеаd of hаrd-ѕеllіng, іt аllоwѕ уоu tо deliver great information tо уоur target mаrkеt thаt naturally рrоgrеѕѕеѕ іntо thеm bесоmіng a рауіng сuѕtоmеr.

https://yeah-local.com/services-we-offer/content-marketing/

Why Link Building is Your Website’s “Best Friend” for Small Business SEO

Link Building for Small Business SEO

Search engine optimization is an ever changing and evolving beast.

The 200+ factors that contribute to how the Google algorithm perceives the relevance of a website for a specific search term is often changing.

BUT one ranking factor of SEO which never is far from the spotlight is the practice of link buildingClick To Tweet

Historically, the links pointing to a site have always held importance.

Over the last few years, the message coming from Google has been one that has tried to downplay the significance of external links pointing to a website as being a major ranking factor.

Is the power of link building a myth then or is Google just trying to pull one over on us?

Where We Have Been

One reason we have heard Google telling website owners not to worry about incoming links to their websites is that Google genuinely wants webmasters to not actively seek to build links.

Why is this?

For years, even a non-technically gifted SEO could send hundreds and even thousands of spammy links to a website with exact match anchor text and rank for semi-competitive terms easily.

Spammy Links

This does not fit in with what Google wanted to achieve-to provide the best value content to its searchers.

As the Google algorithm has advanced, the search engine giant has tried to eradicate the impact of spammy links to help a website rank in their search engine.

Where We Are Now

So the big question now is-are external links still valuable in the eyes of Google?

We used our own data and some external sources to take a look at a range of competitive key terms to see whether links still seemed to hold relevance for ranking.

We were looking for a direct correlation between external links from a range of referring domains and the power they had in terms of ranking.

For this experiment, we used a range of tools to help us scrape the data-the ones we found most effective were Majestic, Moz, and Ahrefs.

The findings confirmed what we thought we already knew and Moz had stated here. as well as Stone Temple here and Ahrefs here.

Here is a summary of our key findings:

  1. Over 99% of top performing websites had more than 1 referring domain linking to them.
  2. The number of links from referring domains and unique IP addresses correlated with higher rankings. In other words, the more websites that were linking to a website resulted in higher rankings.
  3. The number of links to inner pages of a website (the page ranking) did not correlate with higher rankings. However, the links pointing to the domain correlated with a higher ranking.

So what does this all mean?

Take look at the chart below showing the difference between what backlinks will do compared to just fixing on page factors:

Backlink Factors for Google Rankings

In a nutshell, no matter how much Google tells us link building should not be a focus –

link building still the single most relevant factor in determining the search engine ranking of a websiteClick To Tweet

What it also showed us is that while links pointing to inner pages had importance, you could still rank inner pages with less links (per inner page) than a competitor if the overall number of quality referring domains is higher.

What Is Meant By Quality?

Now we are getting to the crux of the matter and what is meant by Google when they say not to focus on link building strategies.

What Google wants to avoid (and what they want to penalize for) is manufactured and manipulated link building tactics.

They want to reward highly relevant and highly regarded links with the power they deserve.

Domain Authority comes into this somewhat but again it can be just another manipulated metric.

What is key is the Trust Flow and Relevance of the website pointing to you and the natural power that the website has.

By relevance we are talking a website about cats will link to a website about cat toys.

A website about cats is less likely to link to a website that centers around real estate.

So which link will give more relevance?

It seems simple now-but it is anything but.

The cost of building a backlink profile using this relevancy in a natural looking way is not only costly in terms of monetary value, it is also costly in terms of time, and costly in terms of experience.

If you get this wrong, then there is every chance Google will penalize your website and you will feel like the man below.

Penalized by Google

Penguin 4.0 Update and The Good News

There is good news for link building with the MASSIVE algorithm update from Google concerning the new Penguin 4.0.

Google has stated, via Gary Illyes, the following info about Penguin 4:

Penguin 4.0 Gary Illes

Bottom Line:

Google is telling us unless your site is being aggressively spammed, low quality backlinks will simply be ignored!

They will not count for or against you.

Great news for small business owners and SEO’s!

Where Things Are Likely To Go Next

The significance of external links to your website is not something going away.

Our study shows this and there are numerous other studies which also back up what we found.

The SEO scaremongers will always run around shouting the importance of natural link building (if you build it they will come)…but they never come.

The reality of it is external links are and will continue to be the single biggest ranking factor in the Google algorithm and there is a simple reason for this…

External links are the hardest element of SEO to build.

Let’s take it one step further…

High quality, authority, and relevant external links are the hardest element of SEO to build.Click To Tweet

Google knows this.

This is why Google places such a high value on these highly relevant contextual backlinks.

When Google looks at your website backlinks it will either give you credit for them, ignore them, or penalize you for them.

If you have over 500 referring domains and have a good backlink profile that isn’t spammy then the odd bad link will not affect you.

But if you have a poor backlink profile of spammy links and they are all coming from a few referring domains, then you are likely to get ignored or penalized-if not now, then a few months down the line.

How To Backlink Safely

It really takes the hand of an experienced SEO expert to assist with a link building strategy of this nature.

The use of guest posts, foundational links, and building other high-quality backlinks on trusted sources is the number one tool in a good SEO’s arsenal.

Can you rank without it for competitive terms? NO

A simple and resounding NO!

Sure, on-site factors will matter to Google-but nothing will hold the relevance and significance that a good set of backlinks will provide.

Unless you know how to acquire these backlinks in a natural looking way, the time frames that are acceptable to link out to your website, how many links to provide, the anchor text to use, the types of websites to link from, and how to assess the power and relevance of these referring websites then you are very much advised to leave the back-linking to an expert.

After all-one mistake too many and your website could disappear from the Google SERPS for good.

Need Small Business SEO Help? Download Our SEO Checklist Instantly!

Atlanta Local SEO Checklist

The post Why Link Building is Your Website’s “Best Friend” for Small Business SEO appeared first on YEAH! Local

Why Link Building is Your Websites Best Friend for Small Business SEO

Link Building for Small Business SEO

Search engine optimization is an ever changing and evolving beast.

The 200+ factors that contribute to how the Google algorithm perceives the relevance of a website for a specific search term is often changing.

BUT one ranking factor of SEO which never is far from the spotlight is the practice of link buildingClick To Tweet

Historically, the links pointing to a site have always held importance.

Over the last few years, the message coming from Google has been one that has tried to downplay the significance of external links pointing to a website as being a major ranking factor.

Is the power of link building a myth then or is Google just trying to pull one over on us?

Where We Have Been

One reason we have heard Google telling website owners not to worry about incoming links to their websites is that Google genuinely wants webmasters to not actively seek to build links.

Why is this?

For years, even a non-technically gifted SEO could send hundreds and even thousands of spammy links to a website with exact match anchor text and rank for semi-competitive terms easily.

Spammy Links

This does not fit in with what Google wanted to achieve-to provide the best value content to its searchers.

As the Google algorithm has advanced, the search engine giant has tried to eradicate the impact of spammy links to help a website rank in their search engine.

Where We Are Now

So the big question now is-are external links still valuable in the eyes of Google?

We used our own data and some external sources to take a look at a range of competitive key terms to see whether links still seemed to hold relevance for ranking.

We were looking for a direct correlation between external links from a range of referring domains and the power they had in terms of ranking.

YouTube Video

For this experiment, we used a range of tools to help us scrape the data-the ones we found most effective were Majestic, Moz, and Ahrefs.

The findings confirmed what we thought we already knew and Moz had stated here. as well as Stone Temple here.

Here is a summary of our key findings:

  1. Over 99% of top performing websites had more than 1 referring domain linking to them.
  2. The number of links from referring domains and unique IP addresses correlated with higher rankings. In other words, the more websites that were linking to a website resulted in higher rankings.
  3. The number of links to inner pages of a website (the page ranking) did not correlate with higher rankings. However, the links pointing to the domain correlated with a higher ranking.

So what does this all mean?

In a nutshell, no matter how much Google tells us link building should not be a focus –

link building still the single most relevant factor in determining the search engine ranking of a websiteClick To Tweet

What it also showed us is that while links pointing to inner pages had importance, you could still rank inner pages with less links (per inner page) than a competitor if the overall number of quality referring domains is higher.

What Is Meant By Quality?

Now we are getting to the crux of the matter and what is meant by Google when they say not to focus on link building strategies.

What Google wants to avoid (and what they want to penalize for) is manufactured and manipulated link building tactics.

They want to reward highly relevant and highly regarded links with the power they deserve.

Domain Authority comes into this somewhat but again it can be just another manipulated metric.

What is key is the Trust Flow and Relevance of the website pointing to you and the natural power that the website has.

YouTube Video

By relevance we are talking a website about cats will link to a website about cat toys.

A website about cats is less likely to link to a website that centers around real estate.

So which link will give more relevance?

It seems simple now-but it is anything but.

The cost of building a backlink profile using this relevancy in a natural looking way is not only costly in terms of monetary value, it is also costly in terms of time, and costly in terms of experience.

If you get this wrong, then there is every chance Google will penalize your website and you will feel like the man below.

Penalized by Google

Penguin 4.0 Update and The Good News

There is good news for link building with the MASSIVE algorithm update from Google concerning the new Penguin 4.0.

Google has stated, via Gary Illyes, the following info about Penguin 4:

Penguin 4.0 Gary Illes

Bottom Line:

Google is telling us unless your site is being aggressively spammed, low quality backlinks will simply be ignored!

They will not count for or against you.

Great news for small business owners and SEO’s!

Where Things Are Likely To Go Next

The significance of external links to your website is not something going away.

Our study shows this and there are numerous other studies which also back up what we found.

The SEO scaremongers will always run around shouting the importance of natural link building (if you build it they will come)…but they never come.

The reality of it is external links are and will continue to be the single biggest ranking factor in the Google algorithm and there is a simple reason for this…

External links are the hardest element of SEO to build.

Let’s take it one step further…

High quality, authority, and relevant external links are the hardest element of SEO to build.Click To Tweet

Google knows this.

This is why Google places such a high value on these highly relevant contextual backlinks.

When Google looks at your website backlinks it will either give you credit for them, ignore them, or penalize you for them.

If you have over 500 referring domains and have a good backlink profile that isn’t spammy then the odd bad link will not affect you.

But if you have a poor backlink profile of spammy links and they are all coming from a few referring domains, then you are likely to get ignored or penalized-if not now, then a few months down the line.

How To Backlink Safely

It really takes the hand of an experienced SEO expert to assist with a link building strategy of this nature.

The use of guest posts, foundational links, and building other high-quality backlinks on trusted sources is the number one tool in a good SEO’s arsenal.

Can you rank without it for competitive terms? NO

A simple and resounding NO!

Sure, on-site factors will matter to Google-but nothing will hold the relevance and significance that a good set of backlinks will provide.

Unless you know how to acquire these backlinks in a natural looking way, the time frames that are acceptable to link out to your website, how many links to provide, the anchor text to use, the types of websites to link from, and how to assess the power and relevance of these referring websites then you are very much advised to leave the back-linking to an expert.

After all-one mistake too many and your website could disappear from the Google SERPS for good.

Need Small Business SEO Help? Download Our SEO Checklist Instantly!

Atlanta Local SEO Checklist

The post Why Link Building is Your Websites Best Friend for Small Business SEO appeared first on YEAH! Local

Why Citations Are A Bad Investment For Local SEO (and where to spend your money instead)

Citations Local SEO

Citations and Business listings are a huge part of local SEO.

They help Google understand where your business is, what it’s about, and who to show it to in search results.

But many SEO companies also use citations and business listings as a way to have their clients overpay for additional work that garners diminishing results.

In this article, I’m going to break down why local businesses don’t need hundreds of citations in order to rank.

I’m also going to tell you how many citations you do need, what to spend your local SEO budget on, and more.

Let’s get started.

Why You Need Local Citations

A citation is a mention of your business’s local information on another website.

This includes your name, address, and phone number (NAP):

NAP Citation Local SEO

Some citations include a link back to your website, but many don’t. So it’s not the same as link building.

Search engines like Google and Bing use citations as a ranking factor in their algorithms when people search for local businesses and services.

Citations from trusted directories, like Yellow Pages and SuperPages, increase the search engines’ certainty that you are a real business operating in that area.

But most importantly, they tell search engines what your contact information is and what your business is about.

Since search engines want to show the most relevant correct results to their users, this is important information:

Google My Business Listing

If search engines can’t verify this information about you, they don’t want to display you in their results.

And if you don’t have a website where Google can get this information, which is typical of less competitive local niches, having citations on other websites is even more important.

The Amount of Business Listings and Citations You Need (And Where to Get Them)

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need hundreds of business listings (citations) in order to rank your business on the first page.

You can certainly get hundreds if you would like to. It won’t hurt your rankings, but it won’t help them either.

In my experience with our clients, a local business only needs the top 20 to 40 business listings.

Above that, there are diminishing returns in terms of ranking power.

Now figuring out the best citations may be easier said than done.  If you take a look at the chart below your head probably starts to spin.

If you take a look at the chart below your head probably starts to spin:

Local SEO ecosystem

Image courtesy of Moz

However, it is paramount you get those top 20 to 40 citations because they help search engines to start building trust in you and shows you are a real business.

Also, all else being equal, if Google looks at a business with citations and one without, they will favor the one with citations.

Make sure you are listed in places like Google My Business, Yelp, Yellow Pages, and a couple local directory listings (like the Chamber of Commerce).

Moz has also put together a page to see the best citations to get per city to help you out.

Where to Spend Your Local SEO Budget

Here’s my gripe with a lot of SEO companies out there:

Many of them say that every citation you have must be perfect down to the dot.

That is, your listings should be exactly same, and if some of them say “St.” instead of “Street,” this must be changed.

This could mean hundreds of listings require editing, and some SEO companies base their entire offering around this service.

We say Google is smart and can understand what a website page or post is about, but we don’t think they understand the difference between “St.” and “Street”?

Hard to believe…

In working with our clients, “fixing” menial parts of each listing like this has had zero impact on rankings.

Just like having hundreds of citations, this won’t hurt your business’s visibility in Google and other search engines.

It just won’t help it.

And if you’re paying an SEO company to do this for you, you may be wasting part of your marketing budget.

Building Citations May Be a Waste of Your Marketing BudgetClick To Tweet

Now, if your business’s address changes, all of your listings do need to be fixed.

Each listing must have the correct address in order for people who find you on Google to find you in real life.

And if Google finds discrepancies in your citations around the web, it may be hesitant to rank you.

Note: Here’s another reason to only go after the top citations. It’s a lot easier to alter 40 citations when you change your address, phone number, or business name than 200 of them.

But especially if you’re in a competitive niche, fixing small parts of each listing so they’re all exactly the same won’t help you rank higher.

Instead, once you have the top 20 to 40 citations, you should focus your local SEO budget on something much more important:

Backlinks.

Specifically, backlinks from high authority domains that are relevant to your local area, your niche/industry, or both.

This is where you want to spend your SEO budget.

Backlinks and Google Rankings

Image courtesy of Moz

Many local businesses don’t focus on link building, and very few even know what it is.

And the companies they’re working with are probably busy fixing their listings rather than building links.

So this is where many local businesses can soar past their competition in search engines.

If there was one huge opportunity in local SEO, I would say this is it.

Like it has been since Google’s inception, backlinks remain one of the top ranking factors for any business or website.

Link building is the hardest and most costly part of SEO, but even if you did everything else wrong, the right backlinks would get you ranked.

As this study from Local SEO Guide suggests.

Citations are a Commodity in Local SEOClick To Tweet

Most businesses have them, so they aren’t a big enough defining factor in Google’s eyes.

Backlinks are a defining factor

If your SEO company is getting you hundreds of citations or fixing small parts of each one, ask them to defer those efforts to building high quality, relevant backlinks.

If you’re in a competitive niche, which is true for many local businesses, have them do this ASAP.

The Disconnect in Current Local SEO “Best Practices”

Current local SEO best practices have a detrimental fixation on citations.

Citations do have a positive impact on your rankings, but they’re relatively easy to get and you can get a ton of them, which some SEO companies use as a facade to clients that they’re doing a lot of work.

I think this is a ripoff.  Don’t get duped by your SEO company.

Local SEO needs to continue focusing on citations (the top 20 to 40), but also on:

  1. Backlinks
  2. Content
  3. Website optimization

Backlinks provide the authority you need to rank above your competitors, but content and website optimization provide the relevancy.

They tell Google who you are, what you do, who you do it for, and what keywords you want to rank for.

Here’s a great chart showing where you need to spend your SEO marketing dollars:

Local SEO investment Chart

Image courtesy of Local SEO Guide

The more links you have to your website and your content, the more Google will see your business as trustworthy and high quality.

Your content also helps educate your audience to do business with you.

And if you optimize it correctly, you can rank for long tail keywords in your local area.

The main pages of your website should also be strategically optimized to rank for local keywords.

When people search in Google for local businesses, they’re searching for keywords like “best Asian restaurant Atlanta” and “Atlanta car repair.”

Your SEO company should make sure each page and piece of content is correctly optimized to send as much business as possible your way.

Over to You

Local search results can be very competitive.

If you want to rank at the top of the first page, you only need the top 20 to 40 business listings. After that, you should focus on backlinks, content, and website optimization to make that final push (and stay there).

I challenge you to have a discussion with your SEO company about what they’re doing and make sure their efforts are being directed towards the right avenues.

What are your thoughts on local SEO citations? Let me know in the comments below.

Need a Checklist to Walk You Through Local SEO? Download Our Local SEO Checklist Today!

Atlanta Local SEO Checklist

The post Why Citations Are A Bad Investment For Local SEO (and where to spend your money instead) appeared first on YEAH! Local