What is location-based SEO? How to rank for your city, state, or region

Top 5 tips to master location-based SEO

In the caveman days of SEO, when we were all just sitting around banging digital sticks together, trying to figure out how the darn thing worked, broad keywords were all the rage. It wasn’t unusual to see a domain name that said, simply, “gardener.com.” Location-based SEO wasn’t on anyone’s radar.

Thankfully, we eventually evolved. Nowadays, marketers know that location-based keywords—like “Atlanta plumber”—are a much better bet when it comes to improving your SEO. Below, we explain why that is, and give you some quick tips on how to do it.

Why location-based SEO matters

Almost all of today’s searches are location-based, including yours. Think about it—when you pull out your phone to find a nearby restaurant, you don’t just type in “restaurant”, you type “restaurant in [your city]”, saving yourself the hassle of combing through irrelevant listings.

The more mobile our society gets, the more important location-based SEO becomes. Google’s latest algorithm updates reflect this trend: Google Possum and Google 3-Pack both reward location-targeted content more than ever. The bottom line? Focusing your marketing around your location is an excellent way to improve your search rankings and, ultimately, your sales.

With no further ado, here are some tips on maximizing your local potential.

1. Set up a Google My Business account

Many business owners are unaware that they can directly control the information Google displays about their business. It’s simple–just set up a free account in Google My Business. This mother-of-all-listings site allows you to upload your location, contact info, website, and hours of operation. You can also upload professional photos of your location to make it look more inviting. This can help prevent some less-favorable customer-generated photos from cropping up on your profile. (For example, think of the last time you looked up a restaurant only to see a close-up of someone’s half-eaten food.)

2. Create location-based site content

Now that you’ve taken care of the basics, you’ll want to create plenty of location-based content for your website. The most efficient thing you can do, from an SEO standpoint, is create a page for every location you’d like to target. That’s right – every location. Unlike lumping everything into one big “Locations” page, this allows you to target every area specifically in the headline, H1 tags, and other SEO areas. If time and budget constraints don’t allow for this, grouping all locations into one page is a good second option.

3. Add your location URLs to your Google My Business page

Once you’ve set up your location pages, remember to return to your Google My Business account to add those new URLs. Don’t just add your home page or domain URL; adding location-specific pages will help Google’s search crawlers index your page and give you higher rankings. It’ll also give your customers a better user experience. For instance, it’s much more convenient to check out happenings at your local coffee chain than search through all 1,600 locations.

4. Make sure your NAP info is consistent

NAP stands for Name, Address, Phone Number. When Google performs a search, it cross-references your NAP information across a variety of websites–like Yelp, Yellow Pages, et cetera – to ascertain that you’re a real, legitimate business. It’s incredibly unlikely that a spam website would have consistent NAP information across multiple sources. Therefore, help Google out – and improve your rankings – by making sure that your NAP information is correct across the board. If you’re not a developer, and you don’t know any, don’t worry – we do.

5. Create location-based Google Ads

Running location-based ads will increase your reach and competitiveness for your targeted areas. You can even use geo-targeting to ensure that your ads only within a specific geographical radius. If you’ve set up a Google My Business account, it’ll be easy to integrate your information right into Google AdWords.

location-based SEO

Master location-based SEO with a Greensboro SEO company

As Google’s users – and algorithms – give more and more preference to mobile, location-based SEO will matter even more. Luckily, there are a wide array of tools, techniques, and channels that will allow companies to stay on top of their game.

Red Letter Marketing is a marketing agency based in Greensboro, NC, specializing in branding strategy, SEO, app and website development, and much more. You can see our work here.

5 Qualities of a Great SEO Company

Searching for an SEO company? Look for these 5 key traits.

SEO is a powerful strategy that can be used to elevate your search rankings and boost your sales. Unfortunately, many SEO agencies lack the skills and experience to implement SEO effectively. Below are 5 characteristics of a great SEO company.

1. They tell you exactly what they’ll do for you.

No SEO company can outright promise that it will get you to the #1 spot on Google search results—we’ll get more into that below—but a professional SEO company should be able to illustrate, in writing, exactly what it will do for you. A few examples include:

  • Performing an audit of your site, homepage, content, or link profile
  • Sending you a monthly report of your site rankings
  • Adding plugins that can enhance your SEO efforts
  • Implementing internal linking across your web pages
  • Offering ongoing website maintenance to help maintain your rankings

The more specific an SEO company can be about the services it provides, the more knowledgeable it probably is. Look out for answers that are vague or which “pass the buck” to someone else who mysteriously never gets back to you.

2. They don’t overpromise.

Getting a website on the front page of Google is no easy feat, and a knowledgeable SEO company knows that. The biggest brands in the world are gunning for that top spot, most of them with significantly more resources behind them. An agency that promises to get you there is kind of like a coach promising he’ll get your kid into the NFL. It’s possible, but it won’t be cheap, fast, or easy. (On that note, watch out for words like “cheap”, “fast”, and “easy”. Quality SEO is none of those things.)

3. They reach out to you. A lot.

A quality SEO agency will need certain things from you—and not just the keys to your WordPress site. It will need to have an ongoing, constant dialogue with you about your challenges and goals. It will need to understand new issues that crop up, and new changes that are affecting your company. Your SEO agency should be an ever-present part of your overall business strategy. If all you’re hearing from your agency is crickets, it might be time to consider other options.

4. They tell you the good and the bad.

Some agencies, like some people, will never tell you what you might not want to hear. This strategy only works for so long, however. If your site is full of broken links, bad content, or useless plugins, you need to hear it. If all you hear is praise, you’re not getting the whole story. And you’re not getting the full value of what a great agency can give you.

5. They genuinely improve your search rankings.

Just as you shouldn’t throw out your scale after a one-pound gain, don’t assume that a one-month dip in traffic indicates a bad SEO agency is at work. SEO is like bodybuilding, or construction. It’s about building a strong, solid foundation over a long period of time. As a general rule, results won’t start to show in at least three or four months.

With that said, however, an SEO agency’s job is ultimately to improve your rankings. If six to eight months have passed with no sign of improvement—or worse, a downward trend—it’s time to start asking questions.

Need a Greensboro SEO Company?

If you’re just dipping your toes into the world of SEO, or if you have questions that your current SEO company doesn’t seem to be able to answer, Red Letter Marketing is here to help. We’ve helped hundreds of companies just like yours improve their search rankings, grow their site traffic, and boost their sales. And, of course, if you need good old-fashioned print ads, we do that, too.

Whatever your web development, marketing, or advertising needs, please don’t hesitate to give us a call!

Want to boost your SEO? Hire professional content writers

Professional content writers can rejoice.

Though the all-knowing algorithm remains under lock and key, Google’s Search Quality Guidelines were released less than 6 months ago. A cursory reading of these guidelines shows that Google now gives primacy to content written by professional content writers.

In short, the internet’s most powerful force now favor skillful, authoritative writing. This is especially true in sensitive areas like medicine, finance, and healthcare, where the stakes for misinformation are higher. If you want to give your SEO a boost, it’s important to hire professional content writers with industry knowledge.

Professional content writers yield higher rankings

This is great news for internet users, because it means we’ll be exposed to better content from more qualified sources. Content farms—known for paying writers measly sums to generate loads of chiefly insufferable material—were undermined greatly by this change. Flimsy organizations like Anti-Vaccine Movement, The Flat Earth Society, and Ken Ham’s Creation Museum all have expressed outrage, claiming that their voices are being stifled. Yet overall, Google’s new guidelines make for a better web experience with more respected voices now separated from the masses of chaff.

Lousy content brings lousy results

These changes confirm what Red Letter Marketing has stood for all along: valuable content that makes a difference for target audiences. There is still a plethora of false prophets in this territory, ready to sell you cheap and easy content marketing solutions. Some have even recommended hiring a college student on the cheap to churn out blogs in order to keep your website content fresh. But the fact is, this won’t work, and is even less viable now than when it actually had some—albeit slight—impact.

The new EAT standard: Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness

Though more vital in fields like finance and healthcare, no industry is exempt from Google’s new E-A-T standard. This is the acronym for Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness. For example, say you’re looking for information on air movement. Google is more likely to drive you to reputable sources like Dyson or Boeing. Though each of these companies operate in distinct industries, they have expertise in the realm of air flow.

Offering Valuable Content, Interestingly

What’s the lesson in all of this? Chiefly, you need to have expert, professional content writers to produce your content. This is especially  true if content marketing is a main artery in your business development strategy. But industry expertise alone won’t cut it. You need to present that information in a way that inspires engagement. Hierarchy of information, scanability, and relevance all become significant elements in the presentation of content. You need to keep a reader interested, even excited about the content.

Poorly-presented information will drive visitors away faster than a toupee in a hurricane, even if it’s valuable. It’s vital to keep your readers…well—reading. They want to leave the page feeling that you’ve provided something useful and accessible. If you’ve succeeded, they’ll remember, and are more likely to come back. If not, they may end up at a competitor’s site. In this regard, professional content writers are often more qualified than those who have industry experience, yet poor writing skills.

As marketers, we take content quality seriously. To do anything less is to disrespect readers, and consequently, customers. Because Google is now reviewing websites using the E-A-T standard, the quality of your content will affect your site content. If you’re wondering how to create effective content marketing that gets the attention of both Google and customers, let’s talk.

RLM Marketing Madness: The Final Four

After winning the Final Four, SEMrush is the 2016 RLM Marketing Madness Champion!

After the Final Four, SEMrush capped an amazing tournament run with a buzzer beater upset victory over giants Google Analytics. And after making it through the earlier rounds with impressive victories over social media superstars Sprout Social and Simply Measured, SEMrush seemed destined to go all the way.  Thanks to all of the 16 great marketing tools that participated in the tournament.  We saw some riveting matchups this year, and are already looking forward to next year’s tournament.

For a complete recap of the tournament action, follow RLM on Twitter and/or search for #MarketingMadness.

RLM Marketing Madness Final Bracket


 

Semifinal Results

@Sprout Social vs @SEMrush – SEMrush wins and advances to the Championship

@GoogleAnalytics vs @Optimizely  –GoogleAnalytics wins and advances to the Championship

 


Elite 8 Results Recap

Survive and advance–that’s what tournament time is all about. It’s no different for our 2016 RLM Marketing Madness Tournament.  After two intense rounds of marketing tool battles, we are down to the Final Four!

Sprout Social enters the semifinal round riding high winning over Hootsuite in Round 2. Then Optimizely is leaving a trail of marketing automation dust as it advanced with tough victories over Hubspot and Marketo.  Finally, in a difficult SEO matchup, SEMrush muscled out an impressive victory over feisty Moz to book their place in the Final Four.  Lastly, in the final Elite 8 matchup, Google Analytics bounced MailChimp from the competition.

The Final Four will tip off on Thursday, March 31st, featuring Sprout Social vs SEMrush in the first semifinal and Google Analytics vs Optimizely in the second semifinal.


Each match up was decided by a 24-hour Twitter poll.  The team with the most votes advanced to the next round.

For a complete recap of the tournament action, follow RLM on Twitter and/or search for #MarketingMadness.

The Madness Marches On! 

The Elite 8! Round 2 of RLM Marketing Madness

Round 2:  Elite 8 Matchups Set for Monday, March 28th!

After a whirlwind Sweet 16 round, we are down to 8 teams left in the 2016 RLM Marketing Madness Tournament.  Who will win the Elite 8?

ROUND 2 SCHEDULE

1 @Hootsuite vs  2 @SproutSocialSprout Social advances to the Final Four!

3 @Marketo  vs  4 @OptimizelyOptimizely advances to the Final Four!

1 @Moz  vs  3 @SEMrushSEMrush advances to the Final Four!

1 @GoogleAnalytics  vs  2 @MailChimp  – Google Analytics advances to the Final Four!

We have some amazing matchups slated for Round 2.  Social media superstars Sprout Social and Hootsuite face off to battle it out for a spot in the Final Four.  We will also see two SEO powerhouses, Moz and SEMRush, go head-to-head in the second round!  On the other side of the bracket heavy hitters Google Analytics will try to “convert” a victory over MailChimp.  Will MailChimp face a “hard bounce” from the tournament or will the team deliver and start “clicking” at just the right time? Rounding out the Elite 8, an Optimizely upset over Hubspot in the first round sets them up for another marketing automation matchup against Marketo in our final pairing.

MarketingMadnessAnnounce-Elite8

The Round of 8 tips off on Monday March 28th.  Each match up will be decided by a Twitter poll that will run for 24 hours from tip off.  The team with the most votes will advance to the next round. Make sure you follow the matchups on Twitter and place your vote for the marketing tool that you cannot live without!  You can also follow #MarketingMadness on Twitter to stay up to date with all of the tournament action.

Follow RLM on Twitter and #MarketingMadness to stay up to date on all the tournament action.

The Madness Marches On! 

RLM Marketing Madness 2016

We are excited to host the 2016 RLM Marketing Madness Tournament, an epic battle for bragging rights among the top digital marketing tools available today.

The Marketing Madness Tournament Selection Committee has been hard at work reviewing the potential participants and determining the top 16 seeds. We selected each team based on its number of twitter followers.

The Sweet Sixteen:  Round 1 Matchups

RLM Marketing Madness Tournament Bracket

We have some powerhouse programs in the field and some rising upstarts looking to deliver some big upsets. The first round sees several cross-discipline matchups, such as the intriguing #2/#3 battle of social analytics power Simply Measured vs SEO-focused SEMrush.  Then, there are also some very interesting potential second round matchups, such as possible head-to-head battles with social superstars HootSuite and Sprout Social. Finally, there’s a chance for a Hubspot/Marketo marketing automation showdown!

The Round of 16 tips off on Wednesday March 23rd. A 24-Hour Twitter Poll will determine all matchups. Then, the team with the most votes will advance to the next round. Make sure you follow the matchups on Twitter and place your vote for the marketing tool that you cannot live without!

ROUND 1 SCHEDULE

1 @Hootsuite  vs  4 @BuzzSumo – Tipoff Approximately 9:00am ET, Wed. March 23

Then 2 @SproutSocial  vs 3 @Canva – Tipoff Approximately 9:30am ET, Wed. March 23

 

1 @Moz  vs  4 @UserTesting – Tipoff Approximately 10:00am ET, Wed. March 23

Then 2 @SimplyMeasured  vs 3 @SEMrush – Tipoff Approximately 10:30am ET, Wed March 23

 

1 @GoogleAnalytics  vs  4 @ScreamingFrog – Tipoff Approximately 11:00am ET, Wed. March 23

Then 2 @MailChimp  vs 3 @CrazyEgg – Tipoff Approximately 11:30am ET, Wed March 23

 

1 @Hubspot  vs  4 @Optimizely – Tipoff Approximately 1:00pm ET, Wed. March 23

Then 2 @KissMetrics  vs 3 @Marketo – Tipoff Approximately 1:30pm ET, Wed March 23

 

We will update this page with tournament results as they unfold.  Stay Tuned!

Follow RLM to stay up to date on all the tournament action.

Let the Madness begin!!!

#MarketingMadness