Small Business Search Engine Optimization
Free SEO Report
We provide a preliminary 10 page SEO report free of charge during our initial consultation period covering:
- An overview of your site structure
- Ranking against the competition
- An explanation of your site’s primary ranking factors
Higher Search rankings requires a flexible stratergy supported by a constant flow of content, great development, and support from social media for outreach and engagement. This is the reason why we sell our services in package.
How we manage SEO:
- Standard, Premium and custom packages campaigns are guided by the SEO consultant
- Our strategy is guided by a year long strategic plan, consultation as needed, and regularly scheduled internal analysis by your SEO consultant.
- All other departments take direction from the analytics and expertise in the SEO department.
On Site SEO
- Content development & Optimization
- Schema and other markup
- Site structure refinement
- Bounce rate reduction
- User experience optimization
Off Site SEO
- Outreach and engagement
- Directory management
- Competitive Link building
- Guest posting
- Press Releases
To rank well in local search engine results is not as simple as just using a system like Yext or Moz Local to claim local directories. Likewise, simply filling out every meta description does not provide enough power to truly compete. Rather, local SEO requires a combination of a great website, directory management, link building, blogging, and social media. Good keyword rankings are simply the side effect of good digital citizenship, which our digital marketing packages help small businesses achieve.
Search Engine Optimization for Small Businesses
We specialize in SEO geared for small businesses. While this generally means localized SEO services, we do have the ability to retool our standard work for national campaigns. No Search Engine Optimization company can promise any specific organic rankings. We’ve developed a system, we call Work and Review Sets. This ensures that experts are constantly reviewing your site and identifying the most intelligent ways to apply both on site and off site strategies that are both industry standards as well as catered to your industry, competition and current visibility.
Because we believe business is based on relationships, we make sure that you have direct access to our experts who can demonstrate what our individual strategies are for your campaigns, as well as listen to your particular goals to rank for your products and services.
Search Engine Optimization is a process that is should aways be happening on any website due to the changes in your industry, competition, as well as updates in web standards that change nearly every month. Because of this our tools and techniques are adaptable to keep up.
We aim to educate as well as serve. Because of that we’ve consolidated a sample of our knowledge into the below sections so you can acquaint yourself with the kind of work that needs to be done in order to increase your traffic and business.
On-Site SEO Work and Review Set (WARS)
On-site SEO is the process of adjusting your small business website to appear properly to search engines and establish relevance for keywords. There are only a few crucial factors in small business SEO, largely focused on making sure your website appears properly in Google Maps and in local search results. Some important aspects of on-site SEO for small businesses include:
- Page Title: Search engines rely heavily on the page title to determine what a page is about. The title associates the page with a set of terms or a topic. Search engine rankings will often jump after only a simple correction of page titles throughout a small business’ website.
- URLs: Content management systems like WordPress will often create URLs with additional characters (like ?) by default. Good small business SEO involves careful curation of your URLs to signify topic, parent pages, and an individual page’s position in the site hierarchy.
- Image Alt: One of the most often overlooked aspect of small business SEO is the image alt tag, or a descriptive tag that can be added to each image on your website. Provided that the tag still accurately describes the image, using these tags is a great was to optimize your website for local search and especially image searches.
Off-Site Work And Review Set (WARS)
Search engines treat many links as votes of relevance for a site, based on the anchor text attached to the link. For example, if you create a hyperlink on your website to another website using “Seattle bars” as the linking text, you’re essentially voting for that website as a good source of information for Seattle bars. The more authoritative your website, the heavier weight search engines place on the vote.
Of course, this only applies to followed links that, with few exceptions, only someone with direct access to the linking website could create. For example, most comment sections on blogs are no-follow. This means that the links may give anchor text, but the linking website doesn’t vouch for their accuracy or relevancy. They can be created by anyone with access to the website.
Marketeering Group believes in 100% natural small business link building and uses organic tactics to secure these links or votes for relevance. There are a few major sources for links you can expect to see targeting your small business website:
- B2B Links: Are you a supplier for another company? For example, do you own a chocolate shop that sells chocolates from a major brand? Chances are good that your business partners have very authoritative websites and will be happy to link to you to showcase that you sell their products.
- Directory Listings: Small business SEO relies heavily on not just links, but also local citations (mentions of your business with the full postal address). The best source of these citations is from local directories like Yelp, Yellow Pages, and Foursquare.
- Travel Listings and Resources: You wouldn’t believe how many good-quality sites will include pages like “Hotels in Seattle.” We use our own custom software to locate these golden links and leverage them to improve your search presence.
Want to learn more about small business link building? Give us a call and we’ll discuss our process as it relates to your industry or focus of business.
With an active Search Engine Optimization strategy (including an active blog to drive online search traffic to your website), you can access new and returning customers on a new level. Our ongoing strategy of both social media and online engagement (including email marketing) will keep your business in front of your customers to keep them coming back. If you want to sell products online, or customize your web presence with a more robust focus, we can help with that too.
In short, we’re here to help you seize the digital economy so that you can succeed and grow in the general economy.
The Google Spider Bot acts like a combination of a census agent (making a simple catalogue of your content), a building inspector (checking out the internal structure of your links), and a secret shopper (checking the structural integrity of your site). But it also observes what people are doing on your site and judges the quality of your content as it relates to your services.
All search engines use a variety of signals to determine how to rank your website for select keyword searches. “Bars in Queen Anne Seattle” is an example of a great Seattle SEO title. In general, the best framework to optimize your site for search engines is as follows:
1. URLs should describe the page using words from the content.
2. Each page should have one H1 (title) tag that basically titles the page for search.
3. Images should include descriptive tags and link to appropriate pages.
4. Important information (like your phone number) should always be as close to the top of the page as possible.
5. Every aspect of the website should make your site easier to navigate.
We use two tools to rank and judge every factor that is used by major search engines. The first being MOZ as well as SEO by Yoast. If you happen to be a client using WordPress for your site, you should look into these tools. Both show us a real-time ranking of all on-site factors, including keywords, meta descriptions, page titles, and even the “readability” of your site.
We edit (and often rebuild) your website to adhere to these and many other suggestions for good local SEO practices.
Give us a call and talk directly with the head of our SEO department here at Marketeering Group. We will produce a free report for you using all the tools we outlined in this post along with a strategy we would employ to improve your visibility online. For local clients we can even meet in person to go over your Seattle SEO report.
Small business link building services with effective results are hard to come by. True Search Engine Optimization requires consistent production of content for the website (normally through blogging) coupled with a strategic link building campaign.
SEO is broken up into two major factors: On-site factors, which have to do with the structure and content of the page, and off-site factors, which have to do with the popularity of the site based on the number of links to the site, the kind of links they are, and where they come from.
Search Engine Optimization is a science that interprets and contextualizes to the demands of the latest algorithms and applies them to specific websites, geographies and keywords.
Marketeering Group’s Seattle SEO is specifically focused at one of the most neglected aspects of Search Engine Optimization in Seattle, which is in written content development. We actually produce the blog articles required by the Google algorithm. Where most other Seattle SEO companies advise businesses to blog and create new content, we do it for them.
Site structure is one of the most typically observed factors for all SEO Businesses. We use SEO by Yoast, a WordPress search engine optimization plugin, that allows us to grade the 36 on-site factors from structure to sentence complexity that affects Google Ranking.
At the end of the day, the Google Spider Bot acts like a combination of a census officer, Zagat rater, and secret shopper.
Small Business Link Building
Search engine optimization is a broad field of study, one that many people approach incorrectly in local search. While global keywords (like “pizza restaurant”) will often trigger local listings based on the searcher’s location and search history, it’s best to geographically associate each target keyword to better target searches most likely to send you targeted potential customers.
In order to best provide SEO services, strategies should be local, educated, and involved. To give you an idea of why this is the case, let’s examine just one aspect of SEO services: Effective and high-quality link building.
Good Links are Hard to Find
It’s natural to go after the ‘low-hanging fruit’ links when performing SEO services; the ones that you can just buy and watch flow in. And don’t think for a second that Google isn’t on to the idea. When a page of your site gets a link from another high-quality site, Google thinks of the link as a vote. The site, in essence, has voted for your site as being a relevant source of information for [insert your business’ anchor text here]. For example, I might link out to a site using anchor text like ‘wireless internet review’, which means that I’m actually saying the page I’m linking to is a good source for information on, you guessed it: wireless internet reviews.
But links are a little more complicated. Think of every link as having two parts of value that it can pass – juice and anchor text. To keep things simple, a link passing juice means that it’s not redirected, it’s not marked with a no-follow attribute within the code, and it passes general value to a site independent of the anchor text. This is why, in some cases, getting a link with the anchor text “click here” or even “this site” can still be valuable, depending on the source.
On the other hand, links pass anchor text, sometimes even independently of juice. In this way, solid link building campaigns can include some no-follow links that, once again depending on the quality of the source, could still pass some keyword value. But all the technical stuff aside, good links are hard to find because they are:
- embedded within relevant and well-written content
- coming from a site with authority and value
- actually seen (meaning the page on which the link appears does get traffic)
- relevant on both ends
If both the linking site and the site receiving the link share the same niche, there’s a good chance that the link anchor text will seem relevant to both sites. In some industries, you’re going to have a very hard time convincing potential competitors to promote your sites. But in most others, you just have to get a little creative.
How to Build Backlinks to Your Site – Anchor Text
No-follow and comment links get a lot of bad press. In truth, no proper link building campaign is complete without a wide variety of low-quality links. If you are actually building links, you need to have some low-quality ones coming in for everything to look natural. This is the same concept as with your anchor text, where having 1,000 links coming in with the same anchor text looks fishy, while a nice mixture of anchor text looks fine. Once again using “wireless internet review” as an example, think of some varieties that still carry the same general relevance:
- reviews of wireless internet
- wireless internet comparison
- wireless internet review 2011
- review wireless internet services
- wireless internet reviews
All five of our above ideas will still suggest relevancy for the original anchor text, while making your link building campaign look natural. Don’t be afraid to mix up anchor text in your link campaign. Doing so can’t hurt your SEO as much as it can help it.
How to Build Backlinks to Your Site – Sources
Now that you understand anchor text, let’s talk about where you’re actually getting those links, starting with what Google wants you to do. ‘Link bait’ is a broad term used to describe content (whether it’s an article, video, widget, picture, infographic, whatever) that people link to naturally, because they find it:
There are some sites that simply thrive on link bait. For example, most news sites like CNN and MSNBC will receive hundreds of links per day because they publish relevant news articles that people care about. Besides being shared endlessly on Facebook and Twitter, they appear on secondary news sources that want to republish the story. The main idea behind link bait is to create value, controversy, or interest. SEOMoz.org provides a great article on how to create link bait.
One of the most popular ways to build links is through guest posting. This is because, if done right, it’s a win/win situation for both the link builder and the blog owner. The link builder gets the link they so desperately seek, and the blog owner gets some free (and hopefully valuable) content. The best way to guest post is within your own niche, asking your contacts if they would be willing to feature a post you’ve written on their blog. You can do guest post exchanges, but having too many reciprocal links can dilute the value of your links. Simply offer something of value and you should eventually be able to build some high quality links.
Next, we have the low-hanging fruit like directories, article submission sites, blog comments, and some social media. These are generally low-quality links, although submitting to the Yahoo! Directory isn’t a bad idea. Treat directories as a way to build some backlink variety, but nothing more. Submission sites like Ezine can be a place to dump low-quality content decaying on your hard drive to target some SEO keywords, but shouldn’t form your overall strategy.
If you choose to comment on others’ blogs and include a link back to your site, don’t spam. Spam doesn’t do anyone any good. Just like with forums, add value to the conversation or don’t bother. Blog owners are fairly relaxed about including links in comments if you contribute something valuable. Some bloggers even use WordPress plugins like CommentLuv to make sure you get some value from commenting.
If you build a high quality site with relevant and valuable content, the links will eventually come. While low-quality links have always been a strategy for the short-term, good links come only with time and dedication. Even guest posting takes an enormous amount of time and provides significant value, so it’s worth using as a primary link-building strategy. But in the end, creating valuable content on your own site is the best way to build links, even if it’s a tough pill to swallow.
Seattle SEO Competition
Because the Seattle SEO scene is very competitive and the nature of SEO a de facto popularity contest, we monitor your competition for you as well. We keep up with not just our client’s page ranks for certain certain keywords versus their competition, but also the on-page letter grades for the given keywords and the number and types of links their competitor has by comparison. The result of this is that we have a specific roadmap of blog posts and links that need to be built in order to rank higher in the search engines.
It all boils down to where your customers are. Seattle small businesses – even those located on a busy main street – need to be in front of their customers online. The majority of the population is constantly ‘plugged in’ these days as they walk down the street texting, sitting in a cafe, or relaxing on the couch.
When your small business doesn’t have an online presence – or neglects it – those plugged-in customers won’t have you on their mind. They’ll head somewhere else when they are hungry, when they’re looking for a new fitness program, or wanting to relax at the spa. Not only that, even when they are actively looking for you or for a place that offers your products or services, they might have more trouble than it’s worth to find you on the top search engines.
If you don’t have your own website or if your site doesn’t represent your brand effectively, your business will be at the mercy of what others (such as Yelp users) have to say about you. What’s even more important, you could be losing a massive amount of revenue because search engines are not cataloguing your business, therefore making it harder for your customers to find you online. And if they can’t find you in the Internet world, it’s unlikely that they will visit your business in the real world.
What is Small Business SEO?
Search Engine Optimization doesn’t change much when applied to small businesses versus giant companies – the goal is still the same. Good SEO helps a small business improve their position in search engines to increase website visitors. Small business SEO depends on a huge variety of factors, but the major aspects can be boiled down to a few broad areas.
Search engines are good at finding information online, but sometimes need some help categorizing websites. Think of a website as a series of paths through a wooded area. SEO simply combines as many of these paths as possible to minimize confusion and always steer travelers in the right direction.
Small Business SEO Keyword Research
The first step in any small business SEO strategy is keyword research, i.e.: identifying good keywords to optimize on your website. You might already have an idea about how to describe your business, which we can use as a starting point. Suppose, for example, you operate a bar in Seattle. Some keywords you might come up with on your own include:
- Seattle bar
- happy hours in Seattle
- bars in Seattle
- pub Seattle
- bars that serve food late in Seattle
Try to think of some unique selling points about your business to generate keywords. Marketeering Group uses a mix of industry and proprietary software to deliver accurate keyword research based on average monthly searches in Google, Bing and Yahoo!.
Marketeering Group also uses extensive competitive reports (reports on what SEO your competition has performed) to find new keyword targets and link opportunities. Ideally, we can optimize your website to address these keywords. Otherwise, we may create new content on your website to fully target your niche in small business SEO.
At the end of the day the goal of SEO is get your Seattle business found in more searches for the products and services that relate to you. Ideally if you’re looking for Seattle SEO you’re looking for services that deliver better results for you people who are near by searching. Growth in your ranking is best measured through google webmaster tools, which shows a brake down of the total number or searches your website is found in (shown to the right), as well as the average ranking you receive for any given keyword (shown below).
Your average position in the right hand column is the primary number that we want to raise for given keywords. Obviously the first step is to make sure that you rank number 1, for your brand name, otherwise known as your “branded keyword.”
Google Webmaster Tools also lets you star your preferred keywords, just like we’ve done for SEO Seattle. Here, Google Webmaster Tools is telling us that we rank #1 on average for that keyword.
We keep track of a set number of these keywords on your behalf, and the total number of impressions you’re getting for those keywords, to ensure you’re getting the most value out of your Seattle SEO campaign.
But things have changed. Google is now a word synonymous with searching for information online and more people are relying on the results of good SEO to provide the information they’re searching for.
Now, you’re probably wondering why you would ever want to target local searches instead of global targets. After all, according to estimated keyword search data from Google, the difference is enormous for any given pair of searches:
But this data can be deceiving. How many of these searches are related to finding information totally unrelated to finding your business? For example, searchers could mean to find something entirely different, like:
– Nutritional information for pizza.
– Research on pizza for an upcoming school paper.
– Simple curiosity about the history of pizza.
– Recipes for homemade pizza.
If these searchers assume that you provide this information (which you may or may not) and you don’t, they may immediately leave your website without interacting with any page. In SEO for small business, this is referred to as “bounce”. We include bounce rate in your bi-monthly SEO reports for good reason – it factors negatively into your website performance if it’s poor (high). Google’s search engine is their product and it’s in their best interest to keep their product as useful as possible. If you are providing poor information to Google’s customers, it’s natural that they would be interested in finding out if some other website can provide more relevant information. Bounce rate is an easy way for search engines to determine when adjusting rankings is an appropriate option, among many other factors.
Worse yet, attempting to rank for broad keyword phrases puts you in direct competition with major brands. For example, if you are an electronics store in Seattle attempting to rank your online store for “cheap flatscreen televisions,” you’re up against million-dollar SEO budgets courtesy of Amazon.com, eBay, Walmart, and Best Buy. Finally, people searching for this phrase likely want to buy online and are far less likely to visit your location.
There’s no reason to worry, however. While it might seem like global searches for broad keywords far outnumber locally-focused searches (like those including the name of a city), local searches are already a huge chunk of total search engine queries, and continue to devour the total search pie. Thanks in part to the now common practice of cell phone providers handing out smartphones with basic plans, mobile and local search have skyrocketed. For the first time, many families that cannot afford a home computer can still get access to smartphones, and thus, the Internet. The data is clear:
Small Business SEO Basics
Search engine optimization is the process of fine tuning a website, or individual pages of a website, based on the best practices set forth by popular search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. SEO helps a website appear higher when terms related to that website are used to perform a search. SEO concerns itself with several important questions:
- Is the content published on the website clear and valuable?
- Do the titles, URLs, and descriptions of pages match their topics?
- Do words used on the website REALLY reflect how your potential customers refer to your goods or services online?
- Are enough people online talking about your business, referring even more potential customers in the process?
Based on the questions SEO asks and answers, there should be no doubt that it’s a very positive process for small businesses. But SEO for small business extends further, establishing your website as a firm fixture in your business community. Further SEO questions for small businesses include:
- Can your customers easily find your contact information wherever they see your brand name?
- Are you established on major online networks that likely include your competitors (Yelp, Google Places, Yellow Pages, etc.)?
- Do all online references to your business mislead customers with incorrect information?
- Do you appear in searches for geographical areas important to your business (Seattle bars, gyms in Seattle, best Seattle hair salons)?
We help businesses all over Seattle to be found online. SEO services are one of the most important pieces of any marketing strategy. To not be optimized is like not being in the yellow pages in 1985 (we know that’s hard to comprehend in Seattle).
Why local SEO is important
This is a photo of some of our Seattle SEO team members at Marketeering Group with one of our clients… smile, and imagine that as you. We can take care of your Seattle SEO too. But first, we’ll show you how we would be doing it. Remember, all of these services are included in our basic service package that starts at just $400. Oh, yeah, and that package also includes lots of other website, social media, and multi-media goodies as well.
While there are some differences between global and Seattle SEO, many of the concepts are still the same. For example, while local citations (full address listings + brand name) are extremely valuable in local search, bonafide links tend to steal the show globally.
Marketeering Group uses a variety of tools and resources to accurately predict and report marketing trends in Seattle, while helping small businesses leverage their existing services and content to keep up. Of course, we also create new content to help clients stand out.
We work with a lot of small, locally-based businesses in Seattle. Search engines take into account the location of a business in reference to the origin of the associated IP address so as to deliver the best results.
Claim your Google Places/ Plus account
Most people use Google Maps on a daily basis (whether or not its on your phone) to be used as a GPS or if you’re just looking up how far a restaurant is away from the movies. The profiles that you can see when you click on the map pin can actually be controlled directly by the business. Google has merged Google Maps, Google Places, and Google Plus, so the importance of keeping these consistent is important. We claim these profiles on behalf of our clients, verify them over the phone with Google, and fill out their profiles to maximize cataloging to ensure your business is seen more often.
Embed Your Map onto Your Website
This link back actually helps Google confirm that there is bi-directional communication between your website and your Google Maps profile. It allows you to be qualified for the Google Local markup that shows up in organic results.
We want to make sure that there are plenty of references if you website content, blog, and photos to where you are. People aren’t the only ones that enjoy hearing you’re local. Search engines give the love back when they see that you’re a part of and care about the community. By associating yourself with Seattle or your given neighborhood, it helps contextualize searches so you show up more often to the clients that mean the most to you: your neighbors.
Utilizing directories that have their own mapping and review systems are great for two reasons. First off, they spend massive amounts of money optimizing their sites so they show up as often as possible in search results. Leveraging that for your brand is key. We help our clients out by claiming their profiles on Yelp, Foursquare, and TripAdvisor, and dozens of other directories that people use every day to help find you. An important Seattle SEO strategy it to ensure you are not only in the major directories, but in the neighborhood directories as well, like businessdirectory.bizjournals.com/seattle, www.seattlewebdirectory.net/ and many more.
Google also checks these directories to see if you’re listed. If so, they take that as an indicator to show your Maps listing more often.
Reviews are content, too. Most people worry about their Yelp reviews. Most people don’t even bother to think about the reviews being left on Google. It turns out that about 12% of the strength of your Google Maps page is dictated by the keywords used in the written reviews people leave on that profile. While it’s something we can’t control, asking your clients to review you on Google will do wonders to help your results in local Seattle SEO.
Social Media Matters
Your social media plays a big part in your local rankings. Like local directories, social media also has their sites indexed by search engines. This means that your profiles will also show up in search results. However, something people often don’t think about is that “Shares,” “Pins,” and “Tags” on social media also count as tags. Each tag has an association with people and and businesses’ profiles that all connected to a geographic location. Search engines also uses these as indicators to determine which companies are more involved and influential in certain geographical areas, resulting in increased credibility by being ranked higher for Seattle-specific results.
Link Building for Seattle SEO
Google uses links as the primary indicator of the trust of a website. In the real world the best form of marketing is word of mouth, or a referral. Google has taken that same principle and applied it to their search algorithm and have broken down various kinds of links and given them different values that can be assigned to your website. Those different values of links are based on the trust of the website linking to you, the location of the link, the anchor text use in referencing your content, etc.
In order you get the highest quality links, and citations you need someone manually reaching out to other websites, bloggers, and organizations. That takes local knowledge and expertise – and why all Seattle SEO should be done by a local team.
It makes perfect sense that we like to keep it local with our tools whenever possible. Moz (Formerly known as SEOMoz) is located on Pine and 2nd near Pikes Place Market in Seattle. They provide one of the best SEO tool suites in the business and we take full advantage of their tool for our clients. It allows us to easily compare your websites against your competition.
Moz even allows us to go as far as to dissect your backlink profiles to find link building opportunities we might not have otherwise been aware of.
Google Analytics is one of our primary tools used for traffic reporting and keyword data. Each client receives a full bi-monthly report with highlighted metrics. We check all metrics, but focus primarily on:
-Keeping bounce rates low.
-Trending traffic up.
-Curating keywords to find the best possible targets.
-Improving user experience on top landing pages.
A high-quality Google Analytics profile shows that we are making marked gains for a client, especially in local organic search.