How to do SEO Yourself in 2020

How to do SEO Yourself in 2020

Are you an SEO newbie who is hell-bent on learning how to do SEO yourself? Whether you are self-employed, a business owner, or at a new marketing position, SEO is a valuable skill for your toolbox. The thing is, the SEO landscape is frequently changing, so you’ll need to keep up with modern techniques. This list is up to date and helps you prioritize your tasks as well.

If you want to learn how to do SEO, start with Keyword Research

Do keyword research. The first thing search engines do is to establish relevance. The keywords you want to rank for must be as strategic as possible. Keyword research is only as good as the person who does it; If you’re not prepared to learn how to do high-quality research, hire someone great and pay as much as possible to get your keyword research.

Why? Because without excellent keyword research, you’ll be flying blind. If you don’t research the value of the keywords you’re targeting, you might get page one for a keyword that doesn’t result in any rewards. Conversely, if you target keywords with high competition, you may not stand a chance at ever ranking on the first page. The goal of keyword research is to find the highest volume and lowest competition keywords possible.

Its also important to make sure that you are targeting keywords with purchase intent if your goal is to get more sales. What this means is if you’re trying to rank a sales page for a keyword that users are using for education, you’re not going to get the results you’re looking for more sales. So focus on the user intent of your keywords to make sure they align with your goals.

Once you have prioritized your list of strategic keywords, use your keyword list to optimize your website, social profiles, blog articles, directory listings, and much more. Try to commit your most valuable keywords to memory and use your keywords when you’re commenting on forums and blogs or anywhere else that can be found online such as replies to customer reviews and blog comment replies.

You should also use your keywords in your social media posts, emails, and chats, among others. Even if the digital medium you’re posting on isn’t crawled by Google, like emails, the exercise of using them everywhere possible is a great habit to make. The goal is to make your business synonymous with the keywords your’e targeting.

Website Optimization Is The Next Step

Try your best to optimize every aspect of your website. There are many signals you send to Google with your website. These include the title tags for your website, the way you use your H tags, your image alt tags and file names, your paragraph content, and more.

On-page optimization is the first place you should start once you’ve determined your keyword list. The reason for this is that your on-page optimization establishes relevance to your keywords with Google. If Google doesn’t know your website is relevant to a keyword, they won’t rank it for that keyword. The usage of synonyms and keyword variations on your website is another great way to establish more relevance. You may also want to find LSI keywords and Entities to include on your website as frequently as possible while still keeping your content readable.

Don’t forget About Your Content

Make sure your content is readable and relevant and ensure there’s enough content. Try to make your content more readable by including bullet points. Its also helpful to use bold and italic texts as well as resource links. This helps readers who skim content. User experience elements like bullet points are a search engine ranking factor, but more importantly, you want your users to read your content, not just Google. Check out this blog posting checklist for more in-depth advice on creating content.

Say Hello To Sitemaps

You need a sitemap. Sitemaps help users and robots alike by literally providing a map to the pages on your website. There are two ways to do this, by using an XML sitemap, or creating an HTML sitemap. On WordPress and other common website platforms you can find plugins like Yoast or Rankmath. These plugins help with multiple elements of your optimization, including sitemap creation. With a plugin like this you can easily create an XML sitemap. These are great if your site is changing pages often because they update as you change your website. HTML websites don’t update automatically, so you’ll need to update them yourself whenever they change.

Check Your Website Speed

Google says page speed is a ranking factor, and of course, they weren’t telling the whole truth. What they meant was the time to first byte (TTFB). TTFB measures how quickly a web server can respond to a request. It gets kind of technical here, but the idea is faster is better. A site like bytecheck is great for finding out your TTFB.
Its important to optimize your web page load time, because this is a user experience factor. User experience is just as important, if not more important than rankings. Without a fast user experience, you could end up wasting those #1 rankings. A site like GT Metrix will measure all page speed factors, and even grade a website against the average.

Build High-Quality Links and Citations

Links (also called “backlinks”) have always been the most important, or one of the most important factors for search engine rankings. Google views links to your business as endorsements. The more endorsements you have, the better your site must be. But be careful!

Endorsements from seedy websites will hurt your reputation with Google and can cause you to lose ranks instead of gaining them. Imagine if a known mobster started talking about how great you were. That wouldn’t be good for your reputation, would it? There are services like Rhino Rank that you can hire to get links placed on your website.

If you have the time, a service like HARO, Help a Reporter Out is a great way to get links to your business. Reporters post to HARO looking for people with certain experiences, and if you can respond quickly enough and contribute to their article, you can a link.

Citations are mostly for local businesses. A local citation is a mention of your business’ name, address, phone number & website on another website. There are a few kinds of citations like local citations, general citations, niche specific citations, and unstructured citations. Its important that all citations have consistent information.

Be on the lookout for our upcoming citation guide for a comprehensive guide to building citations. In the meantime, sign up for the biggest directory websites like Yelp, BBB, Chamber of Commerce, and of course, Google My Business. Make sure all the information you use is the same on each website.

Work On Your Blog

Google loves new content, and your blog is the easiest way to publish new content. Additionally, keeping a consistent and useful blog is a great resource for potential customers. Start out by writing about the basics of your business’ industry. If you’re in furniture, talk about how to identify quality or counterfeit furniture, for example. Once you’ve covered the basics, move on to new topics. If you can think of a topic that no one, or very few people have written about, that is ideal, as long as its something that people are actually searching for. You can find out what kinds of articles people are searching for on many websites such as Answer the Public. Professional tools like SEMRush do even more. It might be hard to find topics that have not been written about  if your industry is already mature or highely-competitibe, but you can still think of a new angle to approach a topic.

Plenty of posts talk about how to choose exercise clothing, but there might not be many people writing about how to choose exercise clothing for pregnant women. Even if there’s less traffic on a more niche topic, it’ll be easier to rank on the first page of search engines. Its better to get a little traffic from a smaller keyword than no traffic from a bigger keyword. Fresh content will do something else for your website, it will establish relevance to your industry. The more you talk about your industry, especially with a keyword strategy, the more Google knows what your entire site is about.

Promote Your Blog

If you find one that applies, you can use your blog articles in HARO responses. Otherwise, be sure you’re sharing your articles on all your social media profiles. You can use press releases to promote your blog posts as well. Even if it doesn’t seem too newsworthy to you, you can pay a press release service to send it out.

Take Advantage Of YouTube

Linking an active YouTube channel for your brand is a powerful signal to Google. Its also great for customers. Video has 7 times the engagement, on average, compared to written content. You don’t need to create viral or groundbreaking videos, just post videos of your work, or of advice you have to give, or anything that might be helpful to your potential customers and the general public. These videos can be optimized like anything else on a web page, and with videos showing up in search results, it gives you another opportunity to dominate the first page for the keywords your’e targetting.

Remember when talking about your products or services, to focus on the the benefits as well as the features, and not just the features. People don’t buy a new security fence just to have a fence. They buy it for the security, or the privacy or to beautify their home. They might buy it for peace of mind. Don’t brag, but instead be humble. Anyone can say they’re #1 but showing that you’re #1 goes much further. Finally, make sure to list your business name, address, phone number, and website are included in the description of each of your videos. You may also wish to include links to your social media accounts and your other videos.

Test, Measure, Test, Measure, Ad Nauseum

It’s Marketing 101. Everything you do should be tested. Then you measure it, and create a new test based on the results. This is especially important with SEO, so you know that your hard work is paying off. You can sign up for services like Ahrefs or BrightLocal to track your rankings, and services like Callrail or Callsource to track your phone calls and form fills.

As far as rankings go, if you’ve got more time than money, you could do the checks yourself manually right in the search engines, but these may be a bit skewed. Just searching the keywords is time consuming, and Google will tailor the results to your location. Sometimes its best to leave testing and rank tracking to the professionals.

If you’d like more information, please check out our other article on how to get your business to the top of Google

 

Robert Portillo, founder of Nimbus Marketing, and his family.

About the author:

Robert Portillo is the founder of Nimbus Marketing. Nothing satisfies him more than expressing his thoughts well. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two sons. He can often be found at local farmer’s markets, hiking trails, and the beach.

The Best 7 Tips to Optimize Your Google My Business for Auto Repair

The Best 7 Tips to Optimize Your Google My Business for Auto Repair

Google My Business for Auto Repair is the solution for many auto repair shop owners that are looking for a way to increase the number of customers who visit their shops. Many of them are in a fierce battle competing with larger businesses online, and their online marketing strategies are in no way working for their business.

If you own an auto repair shop, you should know that people now search online for almost every product or service they need, primarily through their mobile devices. This has made mobile phone searches the dominant method through which people find and locate local businesses.

What this means for you is that to increase visitors to your shop and increase sales, you’ll need to make yourself more visible online. Perhaps the best way to do this is to optimize your website and Google My Business (GMB) page. By optimizing both your website and GMB, you’ll be giving your customers a better experience and increases the chances of them finding you online whenever they search for your services.

Verifying your GMB page is the first step to bringing more customers to your shop. In this article, we’ll offer some essential tips on how to optimize your website and your GMB page.

Tips to Optimize Your Auto Repair Business GMB Page

#1: Get Your Information Right

Thеrе аrе different раrtѕ оf your Google Mу Business listing, ѕо lеt’ѕ ѕtаrt with your core buѕіnеѕѕ information:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone Number
  • Website
  • Description
  • Category
  • Attributes

Google My Business will request your name, address, phone number and website (which is otherwise known as NAP) to begin the listing creation process. This information will be indexed by Google search and Google Maps, providing a foundation for your local SEO.

As much as possible your information should be consistent with what’s currently listed on your website. Inconsistencies between your website and your GMB information can negatively impact your search ranking.

When entering your address, make sure it matches with the correct coordinates on the map and includes the same zip code (5-digit vs. hyphenated 9-digit zip) provided on your website. You’ll also want to use a local number instead of a national or call center number.

After you’ve provided your NAP, the next part to focus on is your business category and company attributes. You can add as many categories as you’d like, however you can only choose from among Google’s pre-made list of categories. Use as many as apply, but don’t use any irrelevant categories.

You should consider your keyword strategies when adding your business category and attributes. However, you need to do this with care so that you won’t be stuffing your listing with keywords.

#2: Update Your Auto Repair Shop with Events and Holidays

Google doesn’t want to send customers to your business when you’re closed, so you want to make sure your hours of operation include holidays. There is an option for you to set special hours for holidays and events in advance. Once logged into your GMB page you’ll head over to your dashboard, from there you’ll go to the info tab and on the left side will be a place for you to edit the special hours.

#3: Research Potential Keywords

Keywords are groups of words that people use when looking for your services. This is one of the essential tips for optimizing your GMB page. You must identify potential keywords related to auto repair in your area.

Keyword research is an entirely different subject, but if your GMB listing has been around for a while, you can use it to get a basic idea of your keywords. Go to your GMB dashboard and click on Insights. Here, in addition to seeing how much traffic your GMB listing created, you can see the search terms people are using to find your listing already. This can give you an idea of the types of keywords you should focus on.

Assess the recent queries by setting the date range to the previous three months, which will give you the most information. Then check the queries that seem to be the most popular based on the number of users searching for your services.

One exciting thing about Google My Business is that its metrics are based on unique users, unlike Google Search Console that reports on impressions. This means your auto repair business can easily note popular phrases most people use to find your website, and on an individual basis.

#4: Ask For Reviews and Respond To Them All

Reviews are the lifeblood of local search. It’s a simple equation. When you’ve got good reviews on your business page, your potential for getting more customers goes up. There are some instances where bad reviews can also present you with a golden opportunity. This may sound counter intuitive, but when users read a gracious response from the owner, they know that even if things go wrong, you’ll make sure to fix it.

most people like a second opinion — a good reason why 90% of people read reviews before making a purchase. A recent study done in 2018 found that 68% of consumers search for local businesses at least once a month. That’s a 10% increase from 2017.

So, how do you get reviews from your customers? It’s simple. You ask them! While some sites may discourage this, Google My Business actively recommends it. You can send a link to your customers in a few easy steps.

  • Go to your Google My Business dashboard.
  • Click on Info.
  • Select the @ symbol to create your GMB Shortname.
  • Click on Home.
  • Find the section that says “Get More Reviews” and click “share profile”
  • Copy the link and send it to your customers by email, text message, or other instant messaging apps.

While the best time to ask for a review is right at the time of service, make sure you share with your previous customers by sending the link via email or text.The worst that can happen is they don’t write you a review.

After you start to gather reviews on your listing, you’ll need to respond to all of them. Even the ones that are bad – especially the ones that are bad. Take time to write a message to each reviewer using the Google My Business dashboard. 44.6% of people say they would be more likely to visit a business if the owner was responding to negative reviews.

If your reviews are arriving with a perfect 5-star rating, this is your opportunity to turn a customer into a passionate supporter of your business.

Pro-Tip: Use keywords in your responses to show Google you’re relevant. For example, if someone writes you a 5 star review, say “Thanks customer, it was a pleasure doing your brake repair in our city.”

#5: Use your Google My Business Messager

What if your customers have a question they want a quick answer to? How will they get in touch with you?

The simple answer is “They’ll call the number on my GMB” but that’s not always the case. Many people, especially younger people, prefer text based communications. Google knows this, and that’s why they implemented the GMB messenger. If you use the GMB App on your phone, you can enable instant messaging straight on your GMB listing.

Google My Business for auto repair can use the GMB messenger

#6: Use Google My Business for Auto Repair to add posts and share business updates

Google added the posts feature back in 2017. This feature allows you to share content about your business, much like a Facebook post. You can use text, photos, and even add a call to action button.

As soon as you’ve verified your GMB listing, you can begin creating posts. Click on the posts tab of your GMB listing and click the one of the different types of posts:

  • Add Update: You can create a regular social media style post here with text and images and a CTA button.
  • Add Event: If your business is doing something special, you can create the event on your GMB page so it will show up on Google.
  • Add Offer: Got a sweet discount you’re offering? You can add it to your GMB lsiting so when users find your business they see it right away.

#7: Track Customer paths through Google My Business Insights

As with any marketing strategy, it’s important to measure thei mpact of your Google My Business listing on your auto repair business. And the good news is that Google has built-in tools to help with that.

Google My Business Insights can tell you:

  • How customers are finding your business – direct vs. discovery searches
  • Where on Google your customers are finding your listing – Search vs. Maps
  • The actions your customers are taking on your listing – visiting your site, clicking on directions, browsing the photo gallery, or calling you
  • Total phone calls and time when customers are calling

Google My Business tracks user actions in the Insights section of the dashboard, which can help you understand what customers find valuable in your listing. You can even compare some elements, like photo views, to your competitors’ performance. All of these information can be used to track your customers’ conversion path, and provides a comprehensive understanding of your customers’ actions prior to reaching your website.

The Bottom Line

There are many ways customers can find your auto repair business, but there’s no denying that Google Search is an incredible gateway to your website. So get your Google My Business page optimized and position your auto repair business where the people searching for it can see it.

Optimizing your Google My Business for auto repair is just the first step to dominating the search rankings and getting more customers. Learn how we used citations to get more customers for the largest auto repair shop in Los Angeles.

Robert Portillo, founder of Nimbus Marketing, and his family.

About the author:

Robert Portillo is the founder of Nimbus Marketing. Nothing satisfies him more than expressing his thoughts well. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two sons. He can often be found at local farmer’s markets, hiking trails, and the beach.

How to Do the Best Local SEO for Yacht Dealerships in 2020

How to Do the Best Local SEO for Yacht Dealerships in 2020

Doing local SEO for yacht dealerships might not sound easy, but this article is here to help you get started with your SEO. According to NMMA (National Marine Manufacturers Association), the boating industry has seen an increase in the last 7 years and expects to see additional increases. The question is, are these Yacht dealerships being found online? Everyone knows that people will search online to find a business or service that they’re looking for, and the same thing goes when buying a Yacht.

The new world of Google for boat dealers

In today’s world, almost everything is digital, and the marine industry is no exception to this. Yacht dealers who understand this and getting their business found on search engines will eventually bring in more sales. If you were to do a quick search on Google with the keyword “boats,” you’d see results at the top of the page for boat dealerships. If you were to search the keyword “boat,” you’d see different results.

So how does Google determine what businesses should be included in the search result? Google considers more than 200 ranking signals to bring up the best result for their users. While many of the signals come directly from the websites or businesses, there are also some other signals that Google will consider, such as online directory listings, backlinks, citations, and consumer reviews.

For a yacht dealership, your priority is to make sure you show up in these local searches. This means you’d need to take your local SEO more seriously. While there are more than 200 ranking signals to be considered its best to capitalize on the ones that have been proven to be effective in boosting site performance in the local sphere.

How Keywords can help boost your Yacht dealership’s local domain authority

Before we can look into how you can implement local SEO for yacht dealerships. We need to first look into some important things that you should know about Local SEO, and that’s keywords.

Whether organic SEO or local SEO keywords play a vital role, keywords tell Google what your site is all about and what users can get from each page on your website. If you’re looking to build an organic presence in an area or if you want to build relevance around a subject matter, you’ll need to create a library of pages that have keywords related to that subject or area. What keywords do is help establish your site as a relevant source of information when users are looking for that topic or in that region.

If your target city was Santa Monica, even though your business location is just outside that city, you might not be able to outrank a yacht dealership in that area. But if you were to optimize your site for Santa Monica, you’d be able to rank organically for Santa Monica.

Building local content for your yacht dealership

When you’ve chosen a primary city, you’d like to focus on, the next thing to do is start writing the content. It’s important that you first identify the city you want to target and get as many relevant keywords as possible.

One great thing about writing local content is that since this is your expertise, the writing for it’ll come naturally. If you’re one of the yacht dealerships that’s involved with community events in your area, start by writing about them, and putting it up on your blog or Google My Business page, you’d then be attracting more people to your site. Anytime someone is searching for that particular event or events like it, your site will come up. Every post you put up on your site should focus on a keyword phrase. Keyword phrases should include the name of the event as well as the city it’s in. This is crucial for content.

Always try to center your writing around the keyword, and when you’re about to post the content, ensure you use the same keyword in the URL, meta title, meta description, image alt text, and in the body of content. This will give Google a clear understanding of what your pages are all about.

Why focus on local SEO for yacht dealerships?

Building local SEO for your yacht dealerships comes with a lot of benefits for your business. Here are some of the important benefits local content marketing has to offer:

  • It helps expand your library of keywords, which in turn will help drive more people from your area to your site. 
  • Having more people from your area visiting your site for relevant information will call Google’s attention to the rise of relevant traffic to your site. This can make you rank higher on result pages
  • Local SEO gets your brand some recognition. Even though most people landing on your site may be there to read up on information. When it comes time to buy that yacht that they’ve had their eye on, they’ll surely remember your site. 
  • It promotes backlink development.

Your site is Important to your sales and to your overall brand management. It’s important to do everything you can to make sure you get it noticed.

Let’s look at some things you need to do to get your Yacht dealership SEO right

#1 Get yourself into more directories

This may not be fun, but it’s worth it. You’ll be required to sign up for a bunch of online directories for your yacht dealerships. You need to do this right, so take your time! This may be the most tedious of all the many SEO tips for your yacht dealership, but it’s also vital when it comes to improving your website ranking.

Some good examples of directories are Yellow Pages, Yelp, or the Better Business Bureau. Creating a profile on these top-notch directories has a way of increasing traffic to your website as well as improving your rankings. This can also improve your site’s rankings and allow more customers to leave reviews on your page.

Useful tips for submitting your website to a directory:

  • Use the full name of your business
  • Use the same information on every directory, including your name, address, phone number, and website
  • Look for some relevant and high-quality pictures to upload
  • On the directories, write a short and captivating description or “about us.” Make sure your description is different for each directory.
  • Use relevant tags on the directories. You want to make sure your business is listed in yacht dealerships or something similar. So, use appropriate tags that’ll give you a better chance of showing up on Google.

If you’re still confused about which directories you should add to, here are some free directories to list your business on:

 

  • Google My Business
  • Yellow Pages
  • Yelp
  • Insider Pages
  • The Better Business Bureau
  • SuperPages
  • Merchant Circle
  • Manta

#2: Optimize your Homepage

Your home page is one of the most important pages on your website, so it’s important to make sure you’re optimizing it. Here are some tips on how you can achieve this: 

 

  • Make sure your home page is linked to all the important pages on your site. You can put those links in the menu bar or in buttons on the homepage.
  • Make sure your homepage vividly describes your business – who you are and what you do. Your audience should immediately be able to tell what type of yacht you sell and where you’re located immediately, they land on your homepage. So, give it your best by using the right words and keywords to describe your business.
  • Be careful and selective with your language. Make sure your language is clear, clean, short, and decisive.
  • Include some high-quality and eye-catching images. But be careful, so you don’t overdo it.
#3: Take your social media pages more seriously

Your yacht dealership also needs a social presence. When it comes to implementing an effective Local SEO strategy for a yacht dealership, signing up for Instagram and Facebook is very important. Once you’ve set up, your social media accounts use the following tips to get the most out of them.

  • Post regularly on your social media pages. Even if it’s a silly update, just make sure you put something on the page once a week. In the case of Facebook, consider using pictures; they seem to work best.
  • Ensure all the information about your company is correct.
  • Promote your posts. 
  • Get people to engage with your post. Let them contribute and share knowledge on your page.

 

#4: Blogs are important

Just like social media, blogging is also another important factor to consider when considering how to do local SEO for yacht dealerships.

Regularly update and share news on your website. Write about company news or about the industry. Focus on just one topic per blog. When your blog is well-focused, the better results you’ll get from it. Below are some tips to help with blogging: 

  • Write posts about yacht sales
  • Blog about the events you attend, host, or sponsor
  • Don’t get yourself involved in opinions. Instead, write about more insightful topics and include some relevant sources in the post.
  • Talk about industry trends. Look for what’s happening in the yacht dealership corner and discuss it.
  • Don’t forget to include relevant and quality images in your posts.

 

Here are some tips for doing local SEO. Find tips on writing a successful blog post for your website. 

Robert Portillo, founder of Nimbus Marketing, and his family.

About the author:

Robert Portillo is the founder of Nimbus Marketing. Nothing satisfies him more than expressing his thoughts well. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two sons. He can often be found at local farmer’s markets, hiking trails, and the beach.

The Most Successful Checklist for Blog Posting in 2020

The Most Successful Checklist for Blog Posting in 2020

Here is the most successful checklist for blog posting in 2020. You may have heard the adage “content is king”. That’s truer today than ever. It’s becoming increasingly important that businesses create unique content for their web pages and blog if they want to convince Google that they’re the experts in their field. Writing for blogs is distinctly different than writing for other formats. It’s important that many different factors are considered when creating and writing for your business blog.

Having a blog and regularly creating posts really is complicated. If you want to be found by the search engines, there are several factors you need to consider and implement when writing your article. I have created what I feel is the most comprehensive checklist for blog posting. If you master even a few of these techniques, you could gain a real competitive advantage in your industry. I have broken down the considerations into four groups: Content Considerations, User Considerations, Search Engine considerations, and General Considerations.

Content Considerations

The first portion of this checklist for blog posting is the content considerations. This involves the way you will write and layout your blog posts.

checklist for blog posting
  • Headline: First on the checklist for blog posting is the headline. This is the most important part of the blog article. Stay away from common blog headline formats and tactics. Create bold, unique headlines that stop the reader’s eyes and beckon them to read more.
  • Reading level: for most audiences, write at a 3rd-grade reading level. Google knows that articles written for 3rd graders are more easily understood and read more often. Of course, this depends on your audience. If you’re writing articles for doctors, you’ll want to increase the grade-level much higher. There is a great tool for this and many other factors here: https://wordcounttools.com/
  • Conversational tone: don’t speak at your audience, speak to them. Try your best to write the same way you would talk to somebody. Don’t be stiff and robotic. Use contractions such as “don’t” instead of “do not” just like you would if you were talking.
  • Bolding: data shows that people often skim instead of, or before reading an entire article. Bolding key sentences cater to these types of readers and clarifies the main points the author is trying to convey.
  • Bullet points: it’s important to break up long content with occasional bullet points to help structure the content for ease of reading. Create a few short paragraphs and then a bullet point list to break up your article and make it easier to digest.
  • Synonyms: don’t stuff your article full of keywords over and over. Use a thesaurus and find words that mean the same thing, or are very similar, to your keywords.
  • Storytelling: if possible, write your blog article in a way that tells a story. The human brain is hard-wired to love a good story. There is an excellent and informative article about this topic in the Harvard Business Review located here. Storytelling should conform to a structure. Common structures include:
    • Past, present, future
    • What? so what? now what?
    • Problem, solution, benefit
  • Sub-headers: by dividing your blog article into easily readable sections, you improve the overall user experience. Increasing the user experience helps your SEO. Google wants you to focus on the user. You should want the same thing.
Word counts should be on your checklist for blog posting
  • Word count: always create blog posts that are at least 1,500 words. Google knows from billions of pieces of data that users don’t read 500-word articles nearly as much as longer articles. If you’re still writing 500 or 1000 word articles, you may be wasting your time. It’s better to write one 1,500-word article than three 500-word articles. In fact, 1,500 words may already be past their usefulness and on the way out. Research by SerpIQ shows that the majority of the top 10 search results on Google that feature blog articles have 2,000 – 2,400 words. People’s attention spans have become more extreme. They seem to either want to read 140 character snippets or they want to dig in and really learn. This article is about 2,600 words.
  • Paragraph length: break your paragraphs into 3 – 5 sentences. Create 3 – 5 paragraphs and then create a bullet point list or other breaks from the paragraph structure, such as a “Did you know?” or “Quick Facts”
  • Sentence length: keep your sentences as short as possible. Read and reread your sentences to eliminate any unnecessary words.
Fonts on your blog posting checklist
  • Font: a lot of people that like to read are older. Make sure that your font is readable. Increase the font size and don’t use strange fonts for your blog posts.
  • Proofread: your blog article can’t have any typos or grammatical errors if you want to rank highly in the search engines. Read and reread your blog article over and over to ensure it’s proper. Take a break from your article and read it the next day to help gain a fresh perspective. Ask a friend, colleague or highly-literate employee to copy edit your work. A great tool you can use to ensure this is www.typosaur.us.
  • Supporting data: if you can, use numbers and statistics to back up your points. Numbers and statistics have been proven to increase trust by illustrating the research you put into your article. This gives your readers more confidence in your information and increases the likelihood that they will share your article.

User Considerations

The next consideration on this checklist for blog posting is user considerations. This involves things like who you’ll be writing for how you’ll be helpful to them, and the useful elements of the article.

  • Know your audience: ideally, you would have developed 3 key buyer profiles. By identifying the types of people, you want to read your article or your customers. You’ll do a better job of writing content that speaks to their needs. It’s helpful to understand the 3 stages of the buyer’s journey: awareness stage, consideration stage, and decision stage. Most people who read long blog articles are researching and fall into the consideration stage. They’re most likely looking for solutions to problems they’re having. By structuring your content with this in mind, you can focus on providing solutions that might appeal to them.
Every good blog post has a target audience
  • Authority links: especially when referencing arcane, technical or industry-specific terms, these can be very helpful for readers to include authority links to define and explain what these terms are.
  • Conclusion: near the end of your article, prepare your reader that the end is near. Create a synopsis of the entire article, for those who skim, and to fortify the meaning of your article. End your blog post with a pleasing conclusion, or in the case of storytelling, with a happy ending.
  • Call to action: incorporate a call to action into your conclusion by offering advice with a link for more information, contact form, a link to a related article, a to-do list, a phone number, and free consultation or a link to your shopping cart website, if promoting a product.
  • Social: be sure to include your social sharing icons. Because there are so many social platforms, list as many as you have. Be sure to invite them to share it politely. Don’t just stick the icons there and expect readers to share. Ask them nicely. Like this: “if you enjoyed this article, maybe somebody you know will too. Please share ☺”
Blogs are great for social media shares
  • Introduction: introduce the author at the end of the article. Include a brief BIO and a picture if possible. Stay away from headshots and include a more personal picture, such as the author with their children, or dogs, or a snapshot of them playing a sport. This can humanize the author and help them to resonate with the interests of the reader and increase their fan base and subscriptions.
  • Gratitude: thank the user for taking their precious time to read your article.
  • Participation: encourage your audience to participate in the process. I recommend ending with a question. If the article was about cleaning gerbil urine stains out of Persian rugs, ask the audience what their favorite urine stain removal techniques are.
  • Moderation: leave your blog open to comments and make sure to moderate them. Be kind to off-the-wall comments, delete comments that are clearly spam, and use each comment as an opportunity to build trust and connections.

Search Engine Considerations

When ticking off your checklist for blog posting, you can’t ignore the search engine considerations. These are the considerations you must make regarding how search engines like Google will read your article.

Make sure you're considering keywords for your blog content
  • Keywords: it’s crucial to identify the proper keywords to use in the article. If you have performed keyword research, focus on one or two of your primary keywords for the article. It’s crucial to insert the researched keywords and incorporate them in a natural manner into each blog article. Ideally, these keywords are included in the blog headline and at least one heading. Keywords should be included in the introduction and conclusion of your article.
  • Meta-description and snippets: create a compelling and persuasive meta description that helps search engines create a dynamic preview of your article in the search results. The preview in the search results page is the bit of text below the search result link. This description can make or break your blog article. If the description isn’t compelling, the user may choose a different article with a more interesting description, even if the article ranks lower.
  • Internal links: always have at least one link to another page on your website. A simple way to do this is to link to an older blog article that goes more in-depth on a topic that you referenced in the current article. You could also link to one of your subpages that discuss your services on a related topic. The reason for this is that if your blog starts to rank, it will pass SEO juice to the internal page. And if you do it in a way that’s helpful for users, this will help your SEO.
  • Hosting: always host your blog on your own domain, such as www.company.com/blog. Don’t host your blog on another site, such as www.blog.company.com.
  • Speed: Test your blog to see if you can reduce loading time. You want your blog to load as quickly as possible, ideally under 2 seconds. 50% of users will leave if your blog takes longer than 5 seconds to load. There are quite a few excellent speed test websites. Google even has its own located here.
  • Compatibility: readers are using all kinds of devices to read with. It’s imperative that your blog is responsive and adapts to any device being used. If you need help making your blog or website responsive, feel free to check out our excellent services in that arena on our services page.
  • Yoast: if using WordPress as your blogging platform, consider using the Yoast plugin. This fantastic plugin guides you through the process of optimizing key elements of your blog post.

General Considerations

The final portion of this checklist for blog posting is the general considerations These are considerations that are less specific to your article, and more about your blog overall.

  • Your blog article URL: your blog article URL should be a friendly URL that’s as short as possible and easy to read. Some blog articles are still using a technical structure, such as https://www.quicktally.com/blog/2016/10/24. Google has a clear preference for articles that use a friendly structure, such as https://www.quicktally.com/blog/How-Hedy-Lamarr-Invented-ARS 
  • Introduction: start your blog with a bang and rapidly get their full attention with a surprising fact, a quick and unusual question, or a brief story that ends in a cliffhanger that’s resolved at the end of the article.
  • Subscription: offer readers the ability to subscribe to your blog. When new articles are written, subscribers can be notified. When they visit your blog repeatedly, you gain a fan base and traffic to your blog. Webpage traffic is a top SEO factor.
Offer subscriptions on your blog
  • Be different: choose interesting articles that ideally have never been written about. Write in a compelling and unique manner that engages the reader. Often creating a unique topic is the most important aspect of the blog. If you write an article that 1,000 other people have already written about, there is little chance that your article will ever rank on the first page of Google or be found. Sometimes it’s very easy to write about a topic that hasn’t been written before. You can do this by being more specific. For example, instead of writing an article on how to create a great headline, write an article on how to create a great Vimeo video headline. Or instead of writing an article on how to remove stains from carpets, write an article on how to remove cat feces stains from shag carpeting. It’s important to not write on a topic that nobody will ever search for. Use your good judgment and whenever possible, do some Googling yourself to see what other people are searching for.
  • Images: include at least one attractive image and preferably multiple images that paint a picture of the takeaways from your article. Ideally, each image is a unique image that’s not a stock photo. The image can be a photo, a cartoon, a sketch, a video or many other types of media such as social media posts, quotes, and presentation slides. Be sure to caption images with a helpful and thoughtful description. If using a video, be sure to include the length of the video to respect the user’s time. Finally, be sure to use keywords in the alt tags used for the image or media.
  • Voice: have a consistent voice for your blog. This can be informative, humorous, helpful, family-oriented, technical, sarcastic and more. The key point is to choose a voice and stick with it. By having a specific voice, you cater to a specific segment of the population instead of trying to appeal to everyone. Targeting a particular section of your market increases the likelihood of readership and shares.
  • Outreach: this is a whole other topic, but it’s important to understand that if you build it, they will not come. Or at least you can’t assume this. You have to promote your blog posts. Share the posts on your social media profiles, ask your friends to share it, ask your colleagues if you can share it on their wall. Include a link to the newest blog posts in your email signature, your bio, your social media profile descriptions, and other directory profile descriptions such as Yelp and Superpages.com. Consider posting your article on Linked-In Pulse. Perhaps even pay to boost or promote your post on Facebook and LinkedIn. Sometimes you have to prime the pump a bit to get things going. Here is an article that will introduce you to some possibilities for blog distribution outreach: https://www.inklyo.com/content-distribution-sites/
  • Be regular: it’s crucial that if you embark on creating and maintaining a blog you stick to a regular schedule. If you decide on once a month, then make sure to post your articles exactly one month apart. Never abandon your blog. It looks very bad when potential customers or fans come to your blog only to see that the last article was posted months, or years ago.
  • Have fun: if you really want to have the most impact on your readers (and search engines), have fun with your blog articles. There are billions of articles out there. Many of them are dry and boring. By having fun and taking chances with your writing, you’ll stand out from the noise and vastly increase your chances of being found, creating a readership base, and enjoying your job as a writer.

 

Thanks for taking the time to read my checklist for blog posting article. If you know anybody who might like this article, please share it. Did I miss anything? What are your favorite business blog SEO tips?

Robert Portillo, founder of Nimbus Marketing, and his family.

About the author:

Robert Portillo is the founder of Nimbus Marketing. Nothing satisfies him more than expressing his thoughts well. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two sons. He can often be found at local farmer’s markets, hiking trails, and the beach.

How Citation Consistency Dramatically Helped the Largest Tire & Auto Repair Shop in L.A.

How Citation Consistency Dramatically Helped the Largest Tire & Auto Repair Shop in L.A.

Tire and Auto Repair Shop Millionaires are Impressive

 

Bob was a self-made millionaire 2 times over. We’d been in a business networking group called LeTip for many years. He owned the largest tire and auto repair shop in Los Angeles. We had coffee a few times, and Bob explained to me how he made his millions. He had worked in the tire industry for a few years as a young man when he purchased the company he worked for. He spent the next decade building the tire shop into one of the largest around.

He did so well in the coming years that he sold his auto and tire repair shop in his early 30’s and retired a millionaire. He started spending most of his time golfing and traveling. Soon he became bored because none of his friends or family had the money or free time to join him. As a result, he would often spend his time in foreign lands and on the golf course alone. That’s when he started a new business, built it from the ground up, and became a self-made millionaire once again.

I couldn’t help but notice that his auto repair shop’s website was outdated. I asked him a couple of times if he’d thought about rebuilding it or if he was interested in trying search engine optimization, PPC, Local SEO or other types of online marketing. He always rebuffed my ideas. After all, he was the self-made millionaire twice over. What advice did a relatively inexperience business owner have to offer him?

Ultimately he was stuck in his ways. He was still fixated on sending out postcards and other physical mailers. Who could blame him? They worked for him for years. So I gave up and continued to bring my vehicles to his shop for repairs and new tires. Sadly, many years later, Bob got sick and passed on his business to his grandson.

His grandson was an intelligent and extremely motivated young man in his mid-20’s. His ambition was impressive. You could almost smell the fire in his belly. While his 4 siblings went off to college to become attorneys and doctors, he was more interested in being a business person.

citation consistency for tire and auto repair shops

Citation Consistency Problems Arise

 

Sensing a new opportunity, I asked the grandson if he was interested in growing his business by increasing his search engine rankings. He quickly replied “yes” and signed up for one of our monthly search engine optimization packages.

We immediately went to work and quickly ran into a devastating roadblock. The website was built on a template shared by hundreds of other auto repair and tire shops. This made it impossible to update anything on his site except for his blog. Search engine optimization requires updating certain parts of a web page, including title tags, H1 tags, alt tags, and 11 other elements. But we were unable to access these elements of his website so we were stuck.

When we learned of this terrible situation, we contemplated calling to tell the Grandson that we couldn’t help them improve the rankings and search visibility for their auto and tire shop. In a company brainstorming session, we discovered that they had some significant citation consistency issues. They’d been in business for around 4 decades. During that time, they had multiple business names, addresses, and phone numbers. In the SEO world, name, address and phone number are referred to as “NAP”.

Google, Bing and Yahoo local SEO NAP number of ranking factors for business

These NAP citation consistency problems were causing their business to have far lower Google Maps rankings than they should have. The reason citation consistency issues cause problems is because when Google and other search engines see different business names, addresses, and phone numbers, they lose trust in a business. They don’t feel confident sending people to the wrong place.

Since we couldn’t update their website, we started correcting all the inconsistent directory listings, also called structured citations, to improve their NAP citation consistency. Since they’d been around for so many years, they had well over 200 citations.

It took us many months to get all the citations exactly consistent. As we corrected their citations over time, their local rankings grew. Their auto and tire repair shop went from 24 number one rankings to 84 number one rankings. They also went from 31 rankings in the 2-5 position to 65 rankings. Their rankings in the 5–10 position rose from 4 to 33. The chart below shows their explosive growth in #1 rankings as the top-10 and top-50 rankings. They experienced a 340% growth in 2 years.

Nimbus Marketing Delivers Big Time For Local Shop

 

Our efforts for this family-owned tire and auto repair shop paid off big time. The Grandson called me into his office and explained to me that since they hired us, their sales increased by over $800,000. He explained that although the increase in sales was not completely because of our SEO efforts, it was a large part of it.

This is one of my favorite customer success stories. It demonstrates the power of never giving up. It also highlights the importance of good research. If my team hadn’t thought to review their citation profile, we may have cancelled our campaign for them and missed out a big opportunity to help a local family-owned business.

To this day, we still can’t update their website. I can only imagine how much more their business would have grown if we could have.

Robert Portillo, founder of Nimbus Marketing, and his family.

About the author:

Robert Portillo is the founder of Nimbus Marketing. Nothing satisfies him more than expressing his thoughts well. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two sons. He can often be found at local farmer’s markets, hiking trails, and the beach.

All You Need to Know to Get Your Business to the Top of Google

All You Need to Know to Get Your Business to the Top of Google

Gone are those days when only big businesses with big pockets can benefit from large scale marketing to get their business to the top of Google. Today, things have changed and it is now about who can smartly take advantage of the several digital channels to outrun

the competition using local search marketing.
Marketing has now turned to an “even field” where anyone can play. Many small businesses are taking advantage of the internet to promote their products and services in the best possible way. And the interesting thing about this is that it is working – they are making huge success from it.
Regardless of the size of the business, the digital age is giving businesses the opportunity to leverage the power of technology to grow their presence. As more companies get found via search engines, the online marketing trend grows stronger by the day.

What Exactly Is Local Search Marketing?

Local search marketing, which is also referred to as local SEO, is an incredibly effective way of marketing your local business online. It presents a golden avenue for you to let local customers

know about your products and services at the exact time they are searching for them online.
Whether you are a local plumber or a dentist, using local search marketing means a potential client looking for your service around your local area at a particular time will be led directly to you. It helps make your business more visible to potential clients online. Therefore, helping to improve the growth of your business offline as more customers find and locate you.

Local search marketing is achieved through a variety of methods, some of which greatly differ from what’s practiced in standard SEO. And of course, some of them are also far easier to manage.

Why Does Local Search Marketing Matter?

Organic SEO is great. As a matter of fact, if you are not a local business, that is what you should be focusing on. But if you operate a local business and looking to have more clients and customers in your geographical location, you may need to look beyond organic SEO.

In order to increase the visibility of your business, local search marketing is what you need to be using. Because the only way to get local search users to notice your business is by ranking for geographically-targeted keywords.

As a local business with a physical store, your topmost priority should be getting found on the internet. Whether you are a dentist or a plumber or shop owner selling a large variety of flowers, using your business location can help you stand out from “online-only” e-commerce businesses.

Still not convinced local SEO is important to your business? Check out these stats to see how important local search marketing is:

  • 88% of consumers who search for a local business online eventually call or visit its physical location that same day
  • When looking up the location of a local business, 86% of internet users use Google Maps
  • 46% of all Google searches include a query looking for local information
  • 72% of customers who search online for local businesses visit stores located within an 8km or 5-mile radius from them.

Now, what these numbers are telling us is that leads coming from location-based searches seem to be a major avenue for potential customers. And one thing is that those numbers will only keep increasing.

Benefits of Local Search Marketing to Your Business

The age of printed phone books is over, and more and more local customers are now turning to the internet to find local businesses – both on mobile and desktop. Learning how to rightly position your business using local search marketing has lots of ways it can benefit your business. Below are some of the effects your business can experience from local search marketing.

#1: local search marketing is timely and highly targeted

The major reason people do local searches is so they can find a local business, a product or service. When many local searchers search the internet, what they are looking for is a specific business name. But the truth is that most of these people don’t have a specific business in mind when they started their search.

#2: You will never miss out on potential customer

Mobile internet is growing, and the number of people who use tablets and phones to find the best local businesses on the go keeps increasing. As a matter of fact, in the US today, mobile digital media time is now higher (51%) compared to desktop use which is at 42%. Since local search SEO targets both mobile and PC internet access, it means you will never miss out on a potential customer. That indeed means a huge success to your business.

#3: You can enjoy the highest conversion rate

Compared to every other local advertising channels, local search seems to have the highest conversion rate. This means that by using local search marketing to get your business listed on as many online directory sites as possible, you will be able to convert 1 out of 2 leads into a permanent customer that buys from you every time.

#4: Local search marketing provides an awesome return on investment

Unlike what it used to be with other traditional advertising such as local newspapers, direct mail, leaflets, etc., there is little or no wasted exposure with local SEO. It helps you reach your potential customers just at the time they needed you. This way, local search marketing is not only efficient, but it is also cost-effective.

#5: Perfect for businesses of any size

Many of the local SEO opportunities are actually free. For instance, claiming your listing on Google My Business, Bing Places for Business, and many other inline business directories are absolutely free. That is nothing but a free promotion for your business!

#6: It gives you a hand over your competitors

Google My Business (GMB) is a free listing by Google for almost all businesses. Getting listed on GMB increases your chance of showing up in local search results on Google. However, only 44% of businesses have claimed a spot on GMB because many of them are yet to come to the reality of how
important online marketing could be to their businesses.

This gives you a hand over your competitors before they eventually wise up and start competing with you. Strike the iron while it’s still hot!

#7: 85% of consumers trust and rely on online business reviews as much as personal recommendations

One major factor in the success of many local businesses is word of mouth. So leverage on local search marketing. Get yourself online, ask your customers to drop positive reviews about how satisfied they are with your product or services in order to increase your company’s online reputation. This has a great way of attracting hundreds of new customers to your business.

Grow Your Business Using Local SEO

Local search marketing is becoming a strong trend and could only get stronger in the future, especially looking at how much effort Google is putting into making the local search experience better. If you have not been taking advantage of local search SEO services, now is the time to do so. Use it to get your business to the top of Google before your competitors wake up. All local businesses, from local stores to plumbers, from florists to builders, and from to dentists and accountants, can improve their business and increase their income through local search marketing. So don’t be left out!

Tips to Help You Better Your Local Search Marketing

Here are some tips to help you improve your brand’s local SEO or local search marketing without breaking your wallet.

  • You will need a real physical address

One major mistake many businesses are doing today when it comes to local search marketing is not having a real physical location in the geographical area they are targeting.

It is important that your marketing goals remain in sync with the goals of Google too. Google is striving to give its users a better search experience by displaying genuine information about a business when their users search, including the location of such business.

When your business is not having a real physical address, it stands the chance of not getting featured in Google’s high-traffic local park. There is no two way about this, just make sure you have a real physical address for your business.

  • Claim your GMB profile

Don’t be like the bulk of other business owners that are still neglecting the power of Google My Business directory. You just can’t afford to ignore it. So it’s important that you claim and optimize your free GMB page in order to get valuable exposure from your local audience.

  • Get regular reviews from happy customers

The practice of asking your trusted customers to leave good reviews for your business is a great way to both optimize your GMB presence and also to encourage more local customers to trust and buy from you. According to stats, about 85% of consumers trust online reviews just like personal recommendations.

  • Optimize for voice search

This is one aspect of local search that is rapidly growing. Because of this, it is important to optimize your business for how potential customers ask questions when they speak into their devices unlike how they type out their searches.

Here, your potential customers are using more long-tail keywords when they do voice searches unlike what it is for regular search. Due to this, it’s important you adjust your content SEO to fit the more conventional tone of someone speaking.

  • Create content based on local events and news stories

When it comes to grabbing local customer’s attention, there is nothing that can be as effective as creating content that speaks directly to a local

issue. Some strategies for creating such content include:

  • Writing blog posts around local activities, news stories, or events
  • Setting up webpages that are location-specific
  • Creating videos that home in on local charities

For instance, if you run a local estate business, you can create content around changes in the local real estate market. It is an effective strategy that will get your business ranked for your target customers to see.

  • Get your website optimized for mobile

According to studies, more traffic is being generated to local stores and businesses from mobile searches. This means you will need to optimize your site for mobile being a major player in local SEO. In order to do this, you will need to:

  • Be sure your site loads quickly
  • Use readable fonts for easy reading
  • Use images and videos to grab more attention
  • Use intuitive UI for great UX
  • Home in on local keywords

What makes sense is that you choose keywords that are relevant to your local customers. There are a few tools online that help you choose keywords based on locations so that you can easily get the search terms and volumes for a given region. An example of such tools is the Google Keyword Planner. The tool allows you to search keywords based on geographical locations and allows you to create a list for such locally relevant keywords.

Once you have such keywords, they are your gold, and you should include them in your site’s Meta content, URLs, and copy.

  • Don’t neglect other online business directories; take advantage of them

These are such websites like Yelp, MapQuest, Foursquare, and YellowPages, among many others. Getting your business details like the name, address, and phone number into these sites will both help your visibility and also boost your local SEO.

Local Search Marketing: More Important Than Ever

SEO changes all the time, and you never can tell when Google will be rolling out the next updates and features. That is why you need to take advantage of local search marketing to regularly stay on top of the game. You can’t afford to neglect this almost free opportunity to achieve your business goals. Start building a solid foundation for your business today; start focusing on local SEO.

The best tip of all is to stay on top of changes by finding reliable newsletters from industry experts. Make sure you’re paying attention to all the experts because unless they have a lot of testing behind them, you’ll have to do some filtering to find out if they actually know what they talk about.

Often times, if you ask 10 SEOs the same question you’ll end up with 10 answers. Or, you’ll end up with 9 wrong answers. A great example of that is the 

power of nofollow links. Google stated years ago that nofollow links do not pass any “link juice” but testing has shown that to be false. Even though there have been reliable tests disproving Google’s words, nearly everywhere you look you’ll see SEOs saying nofollow links don’t pass link juice.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article. If you know anybody who might like this article, please share.

How are you running your business without a fully staffed office, and what has been your experience with Google My Business? Please share your story in the comments.

Robert Portillo, founder of Nimbus Marketing, and his family.

About the author:

Robert Portillo is the founder of Nimbus Marketing. Nothing satisfies him more than expressing his thoughts well. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two sons. He can often be found at local farmer’s markets, hiking trails, and the beach.