Local Search Engine Rankings & Results

Local Search Engine Rankings

The fact or the reality of local search engine rankings & results is that they never remain still. Rankings move. What’s more, Google will serve unique local search results when it can tell where a consumer is searching from. Add to this that an individual’s personal search activity, including their past choices, may also personalize the search results that they see. It all means that a lot of people see a lot of different search engine rankings & results.

When a business is locally targeted, a Google search engine results page (that the business is included in) may be crowded with advertisements, above a local map pack of listings, and finally the traditional organic search results. Competition is also there and just like your business – they are working on their visibility in these results too.

So if the idea of a #1 or a top #5 rank position motivates your business … and it should!, try and think of an SEO effort more as raising ‘average visibility’ to an overall searching marketplace. Those #1 rankings will move and your company and/or your competition will rank differently at different times of the day for different searchers. If it seems discouraging, it really should NOT because the amount of searching for every single subject is so enormous that there are likely more qualified consumers than any one business could ever want or handle. These realities of search apply to all – and STILL, the well-optimized business will raise its’ odds dramatically for being highly visible to its’ target marketplace.

How Do Prospective Customers Search?

A marketer must also identify how customers think and, thereby, search for the products & services they want. Target customer ‘search language’ often differs from the terminology a business uses internally. A local dental practice needs to use the customer’s language because, for instance, the word ‘Prosthodontist‘ is likely NOT to be their ‘search language’. The ‘Prosthodontist’ may need to target keywords like dental implants, crowns, bridges, and dentures.

So matching the language of the ‘target market’ in website pages, in social postings, and in listing descriptions is fundamental to how a business must present itself. At least, it is if the business wishes to achieve its ranking & search visibility goals. Start with who and where that target customer is. Then identify what their local needs are, including the product/service keywords they use to find them.

Search Engine Optimization For A Marketplace

Location is where a business operates from, but its target market is where its prospective customers are coming from. For a locally targeted business, success is going to include looking at its own location and its market the way the Google algorithm does. Unless it is clear that a business is nationally targeted, Google logically compares or ranks a business (keywords on website pages, via links, and in listings, citations, social accounts, etc.) part based upon a radius around its location. The amount of competition is very much a part of that calculation, the more densely competitive the tighter that radius may become. So for the locally targeted business, mapping that from a base location outward is critical to marketing and SEO success.

And for what it’s worth, a local business has a better chance with prospects physically near to their location. Google’s perception of intent is based upon how far a distance the average prospect will accept when choosing a particular business (e.g. dentist, builder, or paving contractor)? The further away a prospect is from the local business, the less likely they are to choose it from or (even) discover it in search results. And, by the way, reaching more distant prospects will inevitably require more related content … and more cost.

Local SEO

Local SEO is a means for getting your brand high in local search engine results, leveraging highly optimized website pages, listings, citations, and various other locally useful references. The goal is traffic, direct calls, and leads from qualified searching consumers. Kinetic Knowledge is a leader for affordable local small business SEO and internet marketing services.

Strategic Content & Keywords Drive The Genuine Leads!

 

Competition is fierce online, including for the local small to medium-sized business that hopes to rank products or services in search results. The serious consumer searches very specifically, so let’s look at a strategic approach to content & keywords that MOST of the competition will fail to execute. It is about targeting ‘long tail of search‘ keywords and it requires identifying, then optimizing, content with those keywords (or key phrases).

‘Long-tail keywords’ are less obvious | more specific phrases that should be used in website pages and off-website citations. While these keywords may have fewer actual searches, they will also attract much more serious consumers AND have less competition. For the business optimizing content & keywords correctly, being visible to the serious (=highly qualified) consumer becomes highly likely. This is about working to be visible to the person who looks harder and who is more specific when they want something that you offer!

Specific or ‘Long Tail Keywords’ Explained

 

Content & Keywords Drive LeadsThe Long Tail theory was originally explored by a forward-thinking Chris Anderson in his Oct 2004 Wired Magazine article describing how the web might influence getting new business. Anderson, Editor of Wired Magazine at the time, later authored his best-selling book ‘The Long Tail’ to better detail his theory.

As it applies to better search engine optimization and to marketing – the idea with ‘The Long Tail’ is to be visible for the specific keyword variations related to one’s ‘business focus’ that serious consumers search.

Proven below this theory shows that, while a business may generate less search discovery per ‘long tail’ keyword (i.e. 3 Bedroom Condo Greenwich Village) than it will for the most competitive keywords (i.e. NYC Condo), the collective impact for those ‘long tail’ keywords is likely to outperform the most obviously targeted. Again, the more specific the content’s keywords are the less competitive it likely is in search results. The assumption is that most business competition has either only focused on the most obvious keyword searches or that they are not bothering to optimize content & keywords at all. The assumption is also that serious leads are searching much more specifically than the less serious masses.

An SEO strategy placing focus on ‘long tail’ keywords is one capable of not only capturing traffic but the better more highly qualified & serious traffic. This is NOT meant to suggest a business should give up targeting the obvious searches (i.e. New York City Real Estate). On the contrary, the argument is to target more specific … less competitive … terms (i.e. 3 Bedroom Condo Greenwich Village) in the search engine result pages (SERPs). It can mean being visible when extremely serious people, demonstrated by their hyper-specific search effort, search. Search visibility to serious consumers can be a cost-effective marketing strategy; whereas, solely pursuing the less specific and more competitive keyword search topics (i.e. NYC Condo) will increase the marketers’ competition as well exposure to the LEAST qualified consumers.

Analysis Shows The Specific Keyword SEO Strategy Works!


Research shows that serious people do search more specifically.
To demonstrate the ‘Long Tail’ content & keywords theory below is traffic analytics data (2007) drawn from a ‘publish lots of specific content Vail CO Real Estate Agency’. This agency had broad keyword indexing for both the most sought after (and then also the not so sought after or specific) keyword targets. Their pages and blog posts focused on being indexed for everything going on in the area & community as it related to local Real Estate. We examined one month of data to demonstrate ‘long tail’ keywords search discovery success for this (remains anonymous) agency in Vail, CO.

the long tail keywords SEO and leadsA. Total ‘Short Tail’ search discovery equaled 190/ 1,015 searches bringing new visitors to a website = 19%

  • Short Tail being the town’s name and state plus the words 1) property, 2) real estate, 3) home, or 4) homes

 

B. Total ‘Long Tail’ search discovery equaled 825/1,015= 81%

      • Long Tail being as many variations relating to obvious local searches as is possible

a.) different areas of town were equal to 130 total searchers arriving on the website
b.) condominium complexes equal to 299 total searchers
c.) new developments equal to 89 total searchers
d.) local clubs equal to 101 total searchers
e.) local business news or info equal to 27 total searchers
f.)  listings or specific local streets equal to 32 total searchers
g.) local builder-developer news equal to 56 total searchers

h.) random/ miscellaneous news equal to 91 total searchers … hey, they blog about what’s going on locally a lot! 

 

Albeit anonymous, the data above demonstrates ‘Long Tail theorysuccess based upon discovery for less targeted keyword variations; that discovery amounting to 81% of the overall search traffic and 435% more visitors than what the short tail of search delivered. That’s a lot of traffic and a lot of potential for highly qualified leads! We’d argue the Agency is not only a cost-effective marketer but one that is capturing the most highly qualified eyeballs!


About Kinetic Knowledge NJ Digital Marketing Services 

 

Based in Monmouth County NJ, Kinetic Knowledge is a full-service digital marketing firm offering Local NJ SEO, website design & managed host service, social media, graphic design, content, and more. We advocate local SEO strategies, particularly the targeting of ‘Long Tail’ keywords in on and off-website content, so contact us here or give a call to learn more about ‘Long Tail’ strategies at 732-722-5915.

The ‘Technical SEO’ Chatter

'Technical SEO' And Your Business Website

There is growing chatter out there about “technical SEO”. Some would say that it is the big winner for a business when it comes to being visible in search engine results.  Technical SEO can include and/or mean a lot of different things, depending on who you are speaking with, but mostly it is centered on good website markup or codebase.

Any competitive SEO signal (believed to be as many as 200) a search engine looks for can matter competitively, but in some cases “technical SEO‘ is used as a ‘scare tactic’. There are those digital marketing companies choosing “fear” as their sales & marketing strategy, for instance maybe, when trying to sell new website projects or SEO Service.

The web’s various standards are always evolving! Search Engines do evaluate website health based on the average person’s ability to access its pages, but keep in mind that content is still king! Also, keep in mind that the level of competition varies for every type of business in every target area. If a ‘walking tour business’ in Biloxi MS has little to no competition then the search engines will have no other option but to default to the pages it can find on ‘Walking Tours in Biloxi MS’ … regardless of whether or not there has been an investment in ‘technical SEO’.

What is Technical SEO

Technical SEO refers to a website’s markup or codebase. It can include things like lighter code or pages better suited for mobile device support; it can be a more easily crawled XML sitemap, better page title & title tags, metadata, 301 redirects, website speed, page loads, and more.

There are lots of ‘audit websites’ out there set up to evaluate a website’s ‘technical SEO’ performance. A question one should always ask is, “who’s standard is this evaluation based upon?” The answer might expose those literally set up to support the very ‘scare tactics’ mentioned above; an audit result being tuned more to create fear than to evaluate the overall health of the business website versus its actual competition.

Also, know that most small to medium-sized business competition is neither investing in nor do they know anything about, ‘technical SEO’. What’s more, every potential consumer connects to the web with different local connections, device types, device settings, and various other potential interference. It is never an ‘apples to apples’ experience for the public. It is never as simple as ‘enter your website URL’ and know where you will rest versus the specific competition.

Still, any SEO signal a search engine looks for – matters. A business should want to know that its website is functioning well & competitively! Given the sheer volume of traffic that ‘Google Search’ sees, search engine optimization must be a priority for every business wanting to be found!

What Can Hurt Competitive SEO?

Ultimately, a business should operate with care or hire the necessary support. What a business should look for is a modern website theme with markup to address all of those items mentioned above. Before adding the newest & greatest plugin application, have someone evaluate it for any potential negatives. Free anything, logically, is probably not the best choice. Don’t add too many apps’, be conservative with home page video roll. Compress images and PDFs when adding them; name and tag all files appropriately. Consider what modern browsers want, etc., etc.

The idea is to make load times better; to make all visual or interactive website components work well with as many devices and connections as is possible. The idea is also to make search engine crawling and consumption easier.

Better Website Solutions For Business'Technical SEO' And WordPress

Not all website solutions are created equal! Not all website solutions evolve to meet new challenges, like for instance ‘technical SEO’. All considered it may be time for a website update?!

WordPress is considered one of the best content management systems for SEO, but install an SEO-friendly theme and plugins supporting the best results possible. WordPress not only evolves at the speed of the web but there are always themes and plugin applications that show up to meet the evolving challenge. And yes, there are new WordPress themes that not only support the lovely design of a unique brand but a great user experience! Responsive design, clean code, and quick load speeds!

Why Bother With A Business Listings Directory?

Getting your business’ Name, Address, Phone number (NAP), and any other details into a business listing can not only improve local SEO for a web presence but it just might be found by that random searching buyer. NAP, including hours of operation, information is routinely cross-referenced by search engine algorithms; for instance, it will compare listings against a website’s information. A search engine will look to see that a business has local on and off-website information consistency.

And while there are as many as 200 ranking signals for a web presence and its target keywords, according to ‘Moz research’ – listing directories and citations are ranking factors that matter competitively for the local business.

 

Business Listings Local SEO


The Top Local Business Directories ( 18 ) 

 * list is part research, part our experience, and therefore part our opinion 
  1. Google My Business – Simply the most visible listing information, bar none and by far
  2. Bing Places – A lot of people use MSFT devices and they are being pushed towards Bing Search, Bing Images, and Bing listings
  3. Facebook – FB business pages are a lot of things, including important contact information and website back-links
  4. Apple Maps/ Siri, unless you register directly which can be a headache, draws on a few databases including its own Apple Maps, also Google for the lion’s share, and Bing for image-related search data
  5. Amazon/ Alexa – not so much a directory and really for when folks use an Alexa device, but Alexa draws upon its own and also Bing search results, but is believed to trail in terms of its’ local search results
  6. Yahoo – still relevant!
  7. Yelp – they developed a bad rap for using bad reviews as a sales tool “quid pro quo” if you will, but ‘bad rap’ and all and they still matter
  8. Yellow Pages
  9. Chamber Of Commerce
  10. HotFrog
  11. Superpages
  12. MerchantCircle
  13. Better Business Bureau
  14. Nextdoor
  15. eLocal
  16. DexKnows
  17. Alignable
  18. Local.com

Concerns With Business Directories

  1. Some directories will already have the business listing in their database, but whether or not  it does – it will still require registration, then some form of verification process to get in control of the listing…  and that can take a lot of valuable time;
  2. There are so many local business directories, their value with ‘people that search’ is often nil’ or irrelevant;
  3. There are so many directories that search engines may not value their content and/or its’ backlinks;
  4. Very few directories get meaningful traffic, so it is hard to know which directories truly matter or how much;
  5. The directory business model is typically to sell upgrades & advertising, potentially leaving a free registered listing in an obscure place or, worse, at the mercy of the directories advertising sales objectives;
  6. It is difficult to know which directory will value the listing content and which will abuse it as an opportunity to redirect visitors to their advertisers’ AND 
  7. In order for folks to give you a review, they will be forced to register personal accounts … discouraging many. 


Listing Services And Local SEO

With Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for Small Businesses, we’re talking about getting visible to qualified shopping consumers in a locally specific geographic area, including voice-driven search. Kinetic Knowledge is a small to medium-sized business digital marketing agency offering expert SEO, Copywriting & Blogging, Social Media Marketing, and Directory Listings Management. Ask us about getting your business listings under control and completely optimal today!