Category Archives: SEO + PPC

SEO Tip – 6 Steps to Local Search Success

To simplify local search engine optimization (SEO), think through every couple’s favorite argument: what should we order for dinner?

Though the battle may be long, ultimately, a cuisine is picked. What’s your next move?
Likely, you hop on your phone, and search: “Italian food near me,” “Thai nearby,” or “Greek restaurant open.”

Local Google Search Italian Food Near Me

In SEO land, that’s called “searching with local intent.” When you’re quickly searching to find dinner before your spouse pitches a fit, you don’t want Google to return a restaurant three states away. You want the restaurant closest to you, preferably one with good reviews.

Google understands that searches with local intent (referencing specific geographic areas or using keywords like “near me,” “nearby,” “open,” “closest,” etc.) value information differently than a researcher seeking historical documentation.

Google’s algorithms are built to identify local intent and deliver location-based information.

Local search is an excellent way to drive foot traffic to your brick and mortar store, restaurant, or service. In fact, SEO Moz extrapolates that there are approximately seven billion unique local searches per month on Google in the United States (which includes about 50%+ of mobile queries). This is a huge volume of search traffic that you could direct towards your business.

Today, we’ll talk through simple ways to optimize your business for local search.

1. Complete contact information on your website

Sounds like no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how frequently websites bury their contact information.

We recommend a single “Contact Us” page on your site that includes your NAP (name, address, phone number), and alternative ways to get in touch, like your email address and links to social media accounts.

Think carefully through your NAP and make sure it won’t change. You’ll need to copy this information verbatim to third party business pages (more on this below), and it must stay consistent.

Your Contact Us page is a great place to embed a Google Map, or link to directions via Google Maps. Also, make sure you include the hours you’re open!

We also recommend adding your contact information to the footer of your website. Website visitors typically scroll or scan quickly through a site seeking information. You want to make it as simple as possible for them to find it, visit you, or reach out with inquiries.

2. Create a page for each location on your website

If your business has more than one physical location, create separate single pages on your site to promote that business. Make sure it includes all your contact information and anything that distinguishes one location from another.

Local Search Optimization for multiple locations

By making each location a different page, it helps Google understand your business, and how all the parts fit together.

3. Update your website with geographically-based keywords

Your website should be optimized for location, in addition to keywords around your products and services.

Add geographically-based keywords to appropriate pages and products on your site, following organic search best practices.

Include your location to page titles (Lexus Dealership | Avalon, NJ | Leo’s Lexus, for example). When appropriate, add location information in header tags and in the body content.

4. Create and maintain business listings

Search engines rank and filter listings based on a ton of ranking factors. Of course, they won’t give us the exact recipe for success, but it’s clear that one strong factor is other websites, applications, social networks, and directories that list your business information and link to your website.

Just like inbound links from other websites increase organic results in SERPs, these factors suggest to Google that your business is reputable and established.

Start with your Google My Business listing. Fill it out completely, adding your NAP exactly as it’s listed on your website (consistency is key), your website URL, your hours of operation, and select from Google’s categories to identify the type of business.
Italian Food Near Me Business Profile
Try not to leave any field blank. When choosing one listing or another, Google prioritizes completed profiles over ones missing information.

If you already have a Google listing, check all the information to make sure it’s still accurate and make any necessary corrections.

Next, complete and update your business profiles on third party sites like:

  • Yelp
  • Zagat
  • Internet Yellow Pages
  • CitySearch
  • Bing Places
  • Apple Maps
  • Yahoo Small Business
  • Facebook business page
  • LinkedIn Business page
  • Location- or industry-specific pages

5. Request reviews

Google knows reviews are important to searchers and will display a business higher in search rankings if it has more positive reviews than an alternative listing. Results show a business’s average star rating and links to these reviews.

Encourage customers to leave you reviews. You can request reviews through email, place a promotion on your social networks, or display a sign in your business window or at checkout.

Equally important, if you get any negative reviews, respond as quickly as possible and try to correct the issue. A prompt, apologetic, and helpful response goes a long way to influence a searcher to overlook a negative review.

6. Mobile-friendliness

Thanks to Mobilegeddon, Google penalizes websites in mobile search results that aren’t user-friendly.

Check if your site is deemed mobile-friendly by Google here. Read more about how to handle Mobilegeddon here.

Take Advantage of Local Search

If your business has a physical location or your services target your surrounding community, optimizing for local search is a must!

As Google’s algorithms get smarter, more and more consumers rely on local search intent and reviews to decide where to spend their money.

Get started with our six local search optimization steps. If you need more hands-on help, contact Whereoware’s search team.

Search Tip – Using an Email Pop-over? Google Changes that Impact You.

The Skinny

In order to improve the mobile experience for users, Google will demote websites that use intrusive interstitials (and pop-overs) on mobile after January 10, 2017.

Wait, what is an interstitial?

Commonly known as pop-over, interstitials are an overlay page that the visitor must take an action in order to view the website content. Usually these overlay pages ask you to sign up for a newsletter, enter your email for exclusive content or discounts, or provide your age or login for secure web content.

Continue reading Search Tip – Using an Email Pop-over? Google Changes that Impact You.

SEO Tip – How SEO grew revenue 701%

Whereoware Search Manager Jay MarkwoodToday, we welcome a guest post from Whereoware’s Senior Search Manager Jay Markwood. Jay specializes in search engine optimization (SEO) and executes search, display and remarketing campaigns for paid search clients. 

Jay walked us through how he optimized client
Barcode-arena.com’s website for organic search, ultimately growing revenue 701%. See all the steps by downloading the case study, below.

barcode-case-study-graphic



WHO:

Barcode-arena.com is an online retailer of Motorola barcode scanners and peripherals.

CHALLENGE:

Launched in February 2014, Barcode-arena.com’s website experienced steady traffic and revenue growth through mid-2015.

Due to increased competition from other online barcode scanner websites, Barcode-arena.com’s traffic and revenue plateaued in July 2015.

SOLUTION:

Barcode-arena.com brought in Whereoware in early March 2016 to manage their pay-per-click (PPC) accounts and optimize their website for organic search traffic, conversions, and increased market share.

Get the case study to see how Whereoware identified missed opportunities and executed search engine optimization (SEO) best practices, growing revenue 701% and moving Barcode-arena.com to the first page of search engine results pages (SERPs).

PPC Tip – Forget Everything You Know About Google’s Ad Character Limits

The Skinny

Google announced that Expanded Text Ads will be available to all advertisers later this year.

Why is Google Doing This?

Remember when we explained the new Google Search Result Page layout? (Get a refresher, here.) So with this new layout and the removal of the right side bar ads, there is more room for longer text in advertisements.

While the layout has a lot to do with this new release, guess what’s also the catalyst for this change? If you said, Mobile, then you’d be right! Google’s Senior Vice President, Ads and Commerce, Sridhar Ramaswamy explains that this update is for, “[…] the on-the-go mobile consumer that wants to know exactly what you offer before tapping into your website.”

So What’s Happening Exactly?

The single headline field becomes two headlines fields separated by a dash. Both headlines can be up to 30 characters. The description of the offer is now expanded to 80 characters and you can customize the URL used in the ad up to two paths (www.whereoware.com/about/careers , /about (path1), /careers (path2).

Still confused? Check out this handy chart from Search Engine Land:

Google Expanded Ads

How Does This Impact Marketers?

Start optimizing your text ads now for this new roll-out of expended capabilities. Then when it comes available to all: test, test, test. See if having the two headlines + longer description helps or hurts your paid ad conversions. As with the old text ads, don’t just set them up and forget about them. Check your analytics to see how they’re performing and make any necessary changes as needed.

PPC Tip – increasing pay-per-click ad spend ROI



Who

Fitz and Floyd is a leader in designing and manufacturing hand-painted ceramics, dinnerware, gifts, collectibles, and home décor.

Challenge

Whereoware developed pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns to drive traffic to FitzandFloyd.com, but these campaigns were underperforming for revenue in January 2016.

Solution

Whereoware’s search team analyzed Fitz and Floyd’s current PPC campaigns and identified three areas for improvement. Read the short case study (right) to see how  small changes to their under-performing campaigns ultimately grew the return on ad spend 105%.

PPC Tip – Goodbye Sidebar: New Google Ad Layout

Zoe - Search ManagerThis week, we welcome a guest post from our Search Manager, Zoe Zhang. Zoe is a PPC + SEO whiz and keeps us up-to-date with the latest + greatest in Search Marketing.

So What’s Changed in Search Marketing?

When performing Google searches recently, have you noticed the page looks a little cleaner + less cluttered? Google debuted a new ad layout at the end of February, eliminating the right side panel text advertisements – this space is now reserved for Google Product Listing Ads.

You will now see that four ads have been added to the top of the search engine results page (SERP) + up to three at the bottom of the SERP, for a total maximum ad count of just seven ads (compared to 11 previously).

New Google Ad Layout

Continue reading PPC Tip – Goodbye Sidebar: New Google Ad Layout

SEO tip – 5 SEO Basics to Do Today

Organic search drives 51% of all visitors to business-to-business and business-to-consumer websites, a study by BrightEdge found. If your goal is to get your website in front of fresh eyes, you need to get comfortable with search engine optimization (SEO).

SEO is a combination of art and science, but for every marketer with 1,000 other things to do, SEO is a worthwhile priority. To help you get started, we’ve laid out a simple list of 5 things busy marketers can do today to improve SEO efforts.

SEO Recap

Quick recap for all you SEO newcomers – before you sign up for a service or buy a product, what do you do? You Google it, or use another search engine like Yahoo to look at product reviews, compare prices, or check out the firm’s reputation.

After inputting keywords into the search engine, you likely click the first, second, or third search result, oftentimes skipping over the paid results. In fact, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll click one of the results on the first page, instead of navigating to page two to see more options. The best, most reputable results are on page one, right?

THAT, right there, is why you need SEO. SEO is a collection of best practices to shape your web pages and copy into orderly and descriptive preferences set by popular search engines (namely, Google) to help boost your webpage to the top of search results.

You can perform SEO on web pages, blog posts, or any online content you want people to find. Follow our 5 SEO basics to get started.

SEO basics 1: Create Unique Page Titles

A webpage title is a brief page description that tells search engines what your page is all about.

For example, let’s say we Google “Omaha Steaks.” We used a name brand, as opposed to just searching “steak,” so it’s no surprise that Omaha Steaks is the first search result.

If I click the listing to land on their homepage, I can see the first part of their page title in the browser tab: “Buy Steaks, Gourmet Food…”. If I hover my mouse over the title, the rest of it shows up: “Buy Steaks, Gourmet Food Gifts, Wine, and Lobster Tails Online {Omaha Steaks}.”

SEO-basics-Page-Titles-Omaha-Steaks

Navigating back to the search results, you’ll see these same descriptive keywords in the page title, shown in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Continue reading SEO tip – 5 SEO Basics to Do Today

PPC Tip – 7 Steps to Optimize PPC for the Holidays

Now’s the time to think about your paid search strategy for the upcoming holiday season. What did or didn’t work last year? Do you have the budget? Follow these 7 Steps to optimize your PPC plan for the holidays to increase ROI this year.

1. Lookback to Last Year

When looking back to last year’s paid search plan, what combination of keywords, bids, and timing were the holy-grail?

Note the keywords, ad copy, or promotions that targeted the most relevant traffic and the time of day or day of the week traffic times peaked. Use this combination of keywords and timing to bundle the perfect paid search plan and adjust your budgets for bidding accordingly.

overall-GA

2. Start Early

Once you review last year’s strategy, it’s time to kick it into high gear for this season — and we mean now.

Continue reading PPC Tip – 7 Steps to Optimize PPC for the Holidays

SEO tip – Google updates mobile URL structure

Today, we’re taking a break from Mobilegeddon to share another Google mobile enhancement you might have missed. Google is rolling out an update to its search algorithm to change the URL structure of websites for mobile search results.

Who cares about URLs?

Google wants to make it easier for mobile users to find the best websites for their searching needs. Google also realizes that users aren’t reading and comparing every search result’s title, URL, and description to pick the best one.

Instead, they quickly scan results and then select the option that seems best. Well-structured, descriptive URLs assist this quick-scanner in their decision.

For example, if you’re browsing for a new video game, you’ll be more likely to visit the site www.videogamedepot.com then you would www.toydepot.com. The first URL offers context that the video game seeker will find exactly what they’re looking for, instead of taking the chance that Toy Depot carries video games.

Google Updates URLs to be Mobile-friendly

Google is updating the algorithm that displays URLs for mobile search snippet results to deliver more context clues than a poorly structured URL. Instead of displaying the full URL, mobile searchers will see the site’s name and breadcrumbs showing where the information is found within the site. Google defines a breadcrumb as a set of links that help a user understand and navigate your site’s hierarchy, like this:

Webmaster Tools › Help articles ›  Creating Google-friendly sites

Do a quick search on your mobile device, and you’ll notice a change:

Google updates mobile search results URL structure

Google will be showing both the breadcrumb URL structure and the name of your website, instead of the domain name and full URL. For example, if your URL is www.company.com/spring/blue-shirts.com, Google would split the URL into something like, company > spring > blue-shirts. Alternatively, they may use the breadcrumb structure of the page.

Don’t like how your URLs look? Well Google is supporting schema.org structured data to allow you to specify the website name to be used in the place of the domain name and the URL structure of the breadcrumbs.

Here’s some info on the update, including your site name in search, and the breadcrumb mark up.

Takeaways

Now is the time to look at your site’s URL structure. Site names and descriptive, user-friendly URLs (instead of arbitrary numbers and letters) are imperative to help mobile users find what they’re seeking and have a better experience with your brand. This change further cements the importance of thinking through your mobile users’ experience. It’s important to make searching for and interacting with your site as easy as possible from small smartphone screens.

SEO tip: PPC + SEO drives better quality leads to your website

B-KoThis week, we welcome a guest post from our Online Marketing Manager and PPC/SEO specialist, Brian Ko. Certified in both Google AdWords and Silverpop, Brian works with clients to develop strategies leveraging search engine marketing and email marketing automation.

Congratulations – you invested in a brand new website equipped with the latest features and gadgets to provide customers a fantastic user experience. What’s the plan for driving visitors to your new site?

A great website is useless without traffic, and more importantly, qualified traffic that converts visitors into customers. This is where search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) come into play. As a SEO/PPC specialist, I have three favorite recommendations for incorporating SEO and PPC into your marketing strategy to drive quality traffic to your website.

The Case for SEO + PPC:

seo-ppc
At its most basic, SEO drives organic traffic to your website. Organic traffic consists of visitors who land on your website by searching for keywords relevant to your business in a search engine like Google. SEO uses a combination of website optimization, content strategy, and a variety of other methods to make sure your business is at the top of search listings.

Why is being at the top important? According a study by online ad network Chitika, Google results on the first page get 92% of traffic for the average search, and organic listings with the first rank have a click-through rate of 33%. Staying atop of the herd pays off, when it comes to organic search.

Continue reading SEO tip: PPC + SEO drives better quality leads to your website