Is SEO Dead? Is Google Responsible.

The Death of SEO – Is Google Responsible?

So, you have reviewed keywords or niche terms related to your business and embedded them into your sites content. You have written strong meta descriptions and made sure that your url and other aspects of your site all follow your strategy. But is it all in vain? Is SEO dying, or is it already dead?

It seems more and more these days that black hat seo is everywhere. Everyone is in a race to get their site ranked high in the SERP’s to increase visibility and business. Underhanded techniques such as link farming and spamming posts seem to be everywhere. Can the white hat seo’s really compete with all of the practices like quality citations and linkbuilding used to gain status online that are simply not lawful? The answer is they may not have to.

Google recently announced an update to their places guidelines that now allow a local business to add a single descriptor that helps customers locate their business or understand what your business offers.

Google Descriptor View

Examples of acceptable titles with descriptors (in italics for demonstration purposes) are “Starbucks Downtown” or “Joe’s Pizza Restaurant”.

Examples that would not be accepted would be “#1 Seattle Plumbing”, “Joe’s Pizza Best Delivery” or “Joe’s Pizza Restaurant Dallas”.

This new guideline allows a local business to be found even more using this descriptor and gain more visibility online. Local seo is rapidly growing and more often than not Google Places/Plus listing show up before many organic searches ever do.

Consumers can gain a great deal of information from your local profile leading them directly to your site, if they even visit it. Studies show that 86% of users searching locally for a business will call or click on their local listing and read reviews and never actually visit a website.

Local SEO & Mobile Search

Here are just a few statistics that support why developing and maintaining a positive and informative local profile is critical, and may be more important that traditional on-page seo for your website.

  • More than 54% of Americans now search online for business information versus traditional
    phone books. (comScore)
  • 82% of online local searchers follow up via an in-store visit. (TMP/comScore)

Traditional on-page SEO that supports keywords, topics and other relative information has long been the most widely used and abused practice for ranking a site or web page. With more consumers searching on mobile devices than ever before the need for strong local SEO has increased. More businesses are becoming proactive in the use of their local business profiles to drive traffic, however over 25% of online business listings are inaccurate or unclaimed.

Traditional on-page SEO

As more business owners realize the power of a strong local listing the shift from traditional on-page SEO to rank slowly dies. The movement toward a local listing full of reviews, images and other useful information becomes front and center. Google is well aware of the effectiveness of these listings and is consistently changing the guidelines to make these listing more effective and more desirable to business owners. With each Google + profile that is optimized a little on-page SEO dies and Google takes that much more of a stronghold over how businesses are ranked and viewed online.

Let us develop a strong local presence for your business today by optimizing and maintaining a group of quality local listing that will drive more business to your door.

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Keep citation listings consitent for more business

Quality Citations & Consistent NAP Equal More Business

So, you’ve started a new business or have realized that your existing one is quite getting the traffic you had expected online and people just aren’t noticing you.

One of the best ways to get your business out there is to develop quality citations for your business so that the SERP’s can see where you exist. But where do you list and which sources are the most effective for your business?

Determining that can be little tricky and it can also be rather time consuming. We’re going to give you a little inside scoop on the best way to determine these citation sources locally and how to keep track of everything.

EV2 Agency Manata Profile

Take a look at what your competitors are doing. If it works for them it can work for you, right? Do a simple search for the type of business you have and see where your competitors are listing themselves. There are quite a few good tools out there to help you, like GeoRanker but a good old fashioned web search can usually tell you a great deal.

One great factor to take into consideration is the MozRank of any given directory or citation source. If you don’t know what a MozRank is read more about it and what it means to you. You can also use a tool like Moonsy to check the MozRank of any give site. Just type in the url of the directory or citation site you would like to check. The higher the score the better the value of the link to your site.

Spending your time developing links on these trusted sites means greater visibility for your business. Knowing which ones to place your information on is a smart starting point and means there is a greater likelihood of your business being found locally.

Another item that is highly important when determining these sources is Domain Authority. If you are unclear read more about it and understand exactly what it means to you and how your site benefits from it. All sites have one and again, the higher the domains authority the better the quality link to your site.

You can check out citations sources and directory sites here on the Moz Open Site Explorer and check the strength of a url.

Once you have done some research make yourself a list of all the best directories and citation sources you feel are worth the time to invest making profiles for your business on. We suggest you create something like an excel spreadsheet like the one shown here with the listing of all these citations and directories. Name them and also give yourself a spot to input your link (url to the page you created) as well. Also, provide a list of your login, password and other critical data you may need in the future for each of them. We leave a notes section to list things such as the date the profile was created, it’s status or if it has been verified and approved or not.

NAP Master Document for management

Once you have developed your working spreadsheet, add in your NAP (i.e. name, address, phone, etc) in a place easily accessible whenever you are working with the sheet. The key here and the element that is of most importance to your business is consistency. You have to make sure that the listings you are taking the time to develop are consistent across the web, so keep that information correct and close at hand.

Inconsistencies in your NAP can not only affect you negatively in searches, but can also cost you business.Learn more about why in this article.

Make sure that your business data is in line with your brand. Write your business description, your UVP and other details that define your business and keep them handy. You may have already done this in a previous branding step but you will need all of this when you are building these profiles.

The consistency of this data says a lot about your business so make sure it is always the same from source to source. NAP consistency on business websites has approximately 18.8% factor in determining the ranking of your site while external sites like Yelp and others account for about 16% of that rank. The most significant yet, is still Google Places which accounts for about 19.6% of your ranking based on title, keywords and more.

These factors make up over 50% of your ranking performance so consistency is key. Let us manage your listings today and drive more traffic directly to your door.

Google Header Image

Google Banner Update 2014

If you’re no stranger to a business or personal Google Plus page then by now you’re probably well aware that the banner has changed it’s size yet again. By my count that’s three alone in 2013, and who knows how many more times it could change in the near future for Google to finally get it right.

Is Google testing to see what works best? Are they simply not happy with the amount of “live space” you can have, or is more than that? Could it be Google just really doesn’t know what size is actually the best and most receptive to potential customers or friends?

Regardless of the reason, it can not only be annoying but potentially damaging to businesses as the banner won’t display properly and could have the ability to cut off or otherwise distort a marketing message or image that conveys the brand.

This is an agonizing problem for individuals and businesses alike, but consider if you, like myself are in a position where you manage multiple profiles for multiple clients across a wide variety of industries.

Taking the time to review each and every banner and then recreating them to fit the new specifications can be time consuming and also look bad on your part when and if the client notices the banner isn’t looking as it should on their profile.

What’s worse is the fact that Google doesn’t notify anyone that the change is coming nor do they tell you what the best possible specifications are to get the most out of the banner. Wouldn’t you think that Google, of all people who claim to want user experiences across the internet to be their best would willingly provide this information to everyone so that the banners could effectively be created and uploaded and look great on all monitor sizes and systems? The fact is, it doesn’t seem like they care too much as there are no Google updates, templates or supplied information out there for users to recreate the banners and properly upload them.

Through online research, other blogs and my own trial and error I have come to the conclusion that the best solution is to create the largest file in both pixel dimension and file size that Google will accept. The reasoning behind this is that if you use the smallest size accepted is that, while it will upload and appear it will only look clear and unpixelated on smaller monitors – such as 13” laptops and smaller devices like ipads and cellular devices. Google scales the image based on the monitor size the page is being viewed on. In retrospect a banner created at a minimum size viewed on a large monitor such as a 20” monitor or greater will expand and increase to fit and therefor render pixelated and distorted. The key is to aim for biggest common denominator and create.

I have determined that size to be approximately 2120 px by 1196 px. While this size is the best size in my determination there is also another aspect to consider which is that Google will scale the image as needed and that tends to happen from the right side. In other words text or imagery run close to the edge of that size can potentially be cut off and not visible. In my experience the best possible scenario is to keep text on both sides in approximately 40 pixels in from the edge so that it remains centered and does not risk getting cut off. It may inevitably be the best idea not to use any text at all and stick only to imagery, however this can still be cut into depending on placement and viewing monitor size.

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