The main ranking signal for a local organic search is link signals or back links. That includes anchor text, which we talked about earlier, and the linking domain authority. If you have a really spammy website linking to your website, Google looks at that as bad. If you’ve got a great domain authority website, like one of the news sites – CNN or Fox News – they’ve got high domain authority. They’re seen as very authoritative. That’s a very good high ranking with high weight back link. Then Google also looks at how many domains are linking to your website.
For my local clients I always try to give them links from local media like The Pulse. If I can get Bracken or Leslie to write an article about one of my local businesses, that back link is huge. WGNS is good about that. The Daily News Journal is great, although they’re owned by Gannett now so they’ll probably increase their domain authority. That is a huge factor.
How do I get back links? That’s the question. One of the best ways to do it is the Chamber of Commerce. If you’re a member of the Chamber, make sure that they are linking to your website because the local Chamber typically has high domain authority. It’s seen as fairly objective. Same with the Better Business Bureau. They’ve got a super high domain authority website. If they link to you that is a very good link.
The bottom line is you can send an email asking to write blog posts for related websites. I’ve got one client where we do that and we usually get the chance to write guest posts with a back link around once a month. This has really helped his SEO because now he’s got consistent back links. Google looks at that as a vote of authority online and it’s consistent so it’s been good for him.
I get asked from clients all the time about why they have to pay for 3 things for a website. Here’s a video that explains it in as simple terms as I could think of.
You tackled your brand development, website, SEO, and online marketing campaigns. Hours upon hours of figuring out Google, indexing, crawlability, platforms, mobile compatibility, rankings, and all things search engine optimization and marketing relevant. Whew! Take a deep breath. Relax. OK…that’s enough. Back to work.
Unfortunately, the world of online marketing does not allow one much time to rest on their laurels. It’s a fast-paced world where things can change, sometimes drastically, by the end of the day. Staying up-to-date with SEO is like a doctor needing to know the latest in medical care to treat a wide variety of illnesses. Ok, it’s not life or death here, but you might need serious first aid for your business if you make the wrong choices or don’t dedicate enough time to this craft.
So how do you make sure you and your team stay relevant with the latest SEO practices? Follow as many of these tips as possible to stay ahead of the curve.
- Google analytics certification and resources. There are a variety of search engines where people go for information, but it continues to remain very clear that Google is king. It doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon so investment in their training offerings is paramount.
- Follow the leaders. Search for the most active groups on Facebook, the SEO leaders (the real ones, not the “gurus”) on Twitter, and popular, new professional articles on LinkedIn. Dedicate several hours each week to staying on top of current information spread through social media.
- Work with a team. Collaboration in SEO is incredibly important simply because knowing all of the possible information is nearly impossible for one person. Find a team on MeetUp, with a coworker space, or a marketing mastermind group online to share and learn from on a weekly basis. The best groups don’t hoard their tips and tidbits, so you may have to jump around a while to find the right group.
- Invest in conferences. Conferences are an ideal place to hear directly from experts, see and learn about vendor offerings that are applicable to your industry, and network quickly. It’s an immersive way to get information, and you can sometimes even stream conference speakers online. Just make sure you follow-up and continue your training over the next few weeks by reviewing your notes, contacting key peers, reaching out to experts with questions, and making the most of your conference experience. You should plan on getting to at least a regional conference about every quarter.
- Create a resource manual. You’ll find new SEO resources every day when you are staying aware. Keep adding these to your resource manual (and deleting those that are no longer applicable) so you can have a toolbox to go to when the need arises.
I get asked alot about where to find free images for client’s websites. So, here is a list of places that I use that are free, interesting, and valuable. Be careful, because this can be a deep rabbit hole… Enjoy your free random carrot photo that I found and liked because it’s orange.
Let’s talk about one of the things for on page SEO that you can’t control but you can influence. This is called dwell time and it is how long somebody spends on your home page or on your website once they find you for a certain keyword.
For my friend Luke who makes church websites, you would want somebody to search for “church websites,” or “church website design,” or whatever is related to your thing, and then you would want them obviously to click on your domain in the search results page. Then you want them to stay on your domain for a long time.
If somebody searches for you, or searches for your keyword “church websites” and they click on it, and then 12 seconds later they click back to Google, Google knows they did not find what they were looking for. That’s call the bounce rate.
We want to have a very low bounce rate and we want to have a very high dwell time on a page.
One of the ways that we can do that is by adding video, by making the homepage long so that you must scroll through it, and by giving lots of text for people to read.
One other important tip is to do this – on the home page, above the fold, put a link that people want to click for more information. Google sees that click that the visitor has gone to a second page. That is a huge factor. It’s a much larger factor for high volume, high traffic websites than it for local service businesses, but it is a factor.
If 90% of the people leave your website after 5 seconds, it’s an indication to Google that they’re not finding what they want and Google is not going to serve you for that keyword. If they stay and they go to 12 different pages and they’re there for 2 or 3 minutes chances are they’ve found what they’re looking for. That’s a strong on page signal to Google.