Are Dashes In Domain Bad Local SEO?

Dashes are OK for roads, but what about Local SEO?
Dashes are OK for roads, but what about Local SEO?

Local SEO is all about being found on the internet locally, and when it comes to your business website, your domain name is front and center.  Should you have a branded domain name or a catchy or clever one?  Perhaps your domain should be an EMD (exact match domain) that goes after a specific keyword?  These are important questions that will not be covered in this article, although my personal opinion is to try for a clever domain name containing a keyword(s), such as “rockfordrockstattoos.com”.  And of course, dot com domains are still preferred due to the perception by many web surfers that it is the only type available.  But, I digress.  Once you have narrowed down the name and type of domain, there is still one question to be answered: should you buy a hyphenated or a non-hyphenated domain name?

No Impact on Local SEO?

First of all, Google does recognize hyphens as spaces in the URL, so it is not an anomaly to use them in a domain name.  In fact, if you are reading this post on its own page rather than the home page, you will see that the name of the post is hyphenated in the URL, which is done automatically.  Many SEO consultants believe that having hyphens (or dashes) in the main domain name has no measurable impact.  One consultant whose article I recently read insisted that hyphens were actually necessary since Google cannot read individual words in a domain name without them (I disagree and will dispute that contention shortly).  However, others have attested that having hyphens can reduce the ranking of a website compared to a non-hyphenated version.  Continue reading

Local SEO Depends On Keyword Research

Local SEO uses spy tactics for keyword research
Local SEO uses spy tactics for keyword research

Local SEO is often thought of as the art of ranking in search engines for the keywords that most people Google when searching for a particular product or service.  For instance, if someone needs a plumber and they live in Rockford, then they will probably use the search term “Rockford plumber” or “plumber in Rockford” or something similar.  These are obvious choices for a plumber or plumbing business to want to rank for.  But are the obvious choices the only keywords that your business should be going after in the SERPs?  No siree, Bob!  There are likely many long and longer tail keywords that your business could rank for, and although each one may not produce much search traffic, in total they could represent more traffic than the main keywords.

So, how do you find these local long tail keywords to add to your Local SEO program?  There are several sources or tactics that you can implement, and we are going to briefly cover a few of them to help you jump start your keyword research.  The best part about these tactics is that they are FREE, and can be implemented with the resources provided by Google.  What a deal!  So let’s jump in and start researching those keywords. Continue reading

Silo Content For Better Local SEO

Local SEO works better with Silos
Local SEO works better with Silos

My first exposure to a silo was when I was 12 on my Uncle’s ranch.  He had a grain silo for the livestock and he wanted me to climb to the top and check to see how much grain was left.  When I looked down, it seemed like there was a lot of grain, so I told him so.  He didn’t seem to care for that report, and responded that there wasn’t much in there to begin with, so how could there be a lot now?  Well, little did I know that this early exposure to both a silo and my uncle would set the stage for my future introduction to Website Silos and Google!

So, how is a Website Silo like a grain silo?  Well, first, a grain silo is used to store content, in this case grain.  A grain silo also only stores one type of grain, and as you can imagine, dumping a lot of different types of grain into a silo would create an unmanageable mess.  The same two concepts hold true for Website Silos.  Website Silos are used to store specific types of content, usually pertaining to a specific keyword or topic, and mixing unrelated content would also create a mess as far as Google is concerned.  And like my Uncle who didn’t think there was much content in his silo, Google also will judge your Website Silo when deciding if it has enough relevant content to rank highly in the Search Engine Results. Continue reading

Local SEO Needs 5 Star Reviews

Local SEO needs 5 Star Reviews
Local SEO needs 5 Star Reviews

Local SEO is all about people.  Your local business wants to attract the people who live in your town or city that want or need your product or service.  And before they will patronize your business, they want to feel comfortable, no make that confident, that your business will provide an outstanding product or service at a fair price.  And how do most people gain that confidence?  They gain it by relying on referrals or recommendations from other people who have already done business with your company.  Enter Online Reviews.  Online Reviews can be the life blood of a successful business, or the downfall of an underperforming one.  And Local SEO is intrinsically tied to Online Reviews because no matter how good your SEO is, if it leads customers to bad reviews of your business, your Local SEO will be a complete failure.

Believe it or not, people put a lot of stock in Online Reviews.  In fact, according to a 2013 survey conducted by Miles Anderson, CEO of BrightLocal, 79% of consumers trust Online Reviews as much as personal recommendations.  And 73% of consumers say that positive customer reviews make them trust a business more.  So, is it any wonder that a strong Local SEO program should be proactive and not reactive?  Here are some proactive tactics that your business needs to adopt to ensure that your reviews are 5 Star endorsements and not the proverbial sharp stick in the eye. Continue reading

Citations For Local SEO

Local SEO doesn't work with this kind of Citation
Local SEO doesn’t work with this kind of Citation

So, some of you are wondering why citations are important for Local SEO.  Isn’t a citation something you receive from a police officer when you are speeding or run a red light?  Well, yes, that is one type of citation. But the ones I am referring to don’t penalize you for doing something wrong, they reward you and your business for doing something right!  And they are so important for the Local SEO of your business, that if you aren’t obtaining them for your business you should receive a citation, and this time I am referring to the bad kind.  Let’s jump in and talk about what citations are, why they are important to your Local SEO, and how you can make sure that your citations are “optimized” for the best results.

What Are Citations?

When you were in school and had to write a term paper, you were instructed to cite your sources.  These citations told readers where to go to find the source of the information.  Well citations for Local SEO work in a similar way.  They are references or listings on the internet that mention your business and provide basic contact and background information.  They may also include the all-important link back to your website.  They are generally in directories such as Google + Local, Yelp, Angie’s List, etc.  They can also be in local directories such as those for your local Chamber of Commerce or trade associations.  Social Media citations are another source.  Really, any online site that references your business Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) would be considered a citation. Continue reading