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How To Conduct A Winning Local Search Audit

shutterstock_141227494-winning-audit Every week, our support team at BrightLocal fields numerous questions from our customers about how best to conduct a local search audit. The questions range from the type and quantity of data to include, to what processes and tools can be used to speed up the audit. This topic is well covered on many blogs, but I want to share my thoughts on the why, how and what of conducting a winning audit. Why Do You Want To Do An Audit? SEO is a journey, and any seasoned traveler knows that all successful journeys start with detailed planning. Conducting a search audit tells you where you are tod [...]


Do Your Own 5-Minute SEO Audit

Image from Shutterstock, used under license If you've gone to SEO events, you may have attended one or more sessions where experts conduct live site reviews and make recommendations. For agencies and consultants, quickly assessing any website is a great skill to hone. Here is how you can do your own 5-minute SEO audits. Don't worry if this takes you 10 or 15 minutes. This is one of those "the more you do, the faster you get" things. The important piece is having a practical framework to delve through. If you want to do a full audit, here are three great guides to read: Lindsay Wassell (Moz) Sam McRobert's Template on [...]


Use These Tools To See What Entities Are On A Web Page

How to see your webpages like a search engine does Search engines leverage structured data to determine what entities are on your web page. They can also do this using other techniques such as natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning. This article will introduce you to various tools that will help you identify entities on a web page. These tools include: Interesting /Chrome plugins/extensions that enable you to see entities derived from structured data/markup as you surf any web page A fantastic visualization tool for entity graphs which can be run locally on your computer Tools that extract entities on a web page usin [...]


Top 10 Tips For Local Search Success

shutterstock_183277097-options-choices Many local businesses today are overwhelmed by the variety of local marketing choices available. Unlike the old days when a small handful of advertising outlets would cover the majority of your audience, the sheer volume of marketing options has seemingly flattened the reach of each advertising channel. Business owners see all the different ways that consumers are seeking out, discovering and considering local businesses, and they don't know where to start. The key to getting started is building a strong foundation for local search success by checking off the basics. From there, you can [...]


Want To Future-Proof Your SEO? 6 Ethical Guidelines To Consider

SEO_Ethical Ethical SEO is a popular selling point for agencies and consultants, but what truly constitutes ethical SEO? Following are some guidelines for performing ethical SEO. By sticking to these guidelines, you'll keep your reputation, your clients, and the search engines happy! 1. Follow The Search Engines' Guidelines First, the obvious. Search engines have rules of the road. Learn them. Google Webmaster Guidelines Bing Webmaster Guidelines Yahoo Content Quality Guidelines Webmaster guidelines include: Descriptions of the types of content search engines want to serve in their res [...]


A Marketer’s Guide To Using Regular Expressions In SEO

HTTP_shutterstock Regular expressions (regex) are one of the most powerful tools we have in our SEO arsenal,  but they're incredibly intimidating! Here are some tips and tricks from one SEO to another that I hope will help you dip your toes into the powerful world of regex. I must begin with a disclaimer: I'm not a coder, a developer or a network admin. My use of regex is very entry-level, but what I'm about to share has worked well for me across a variety of platforms. I want to share three of these with you: Google Analytics, Screaming Frog and htaccess. Fundamentals Of Regular Expressions (Regex) Let's [...]


Discover Who’s Eating Your SEO Lunch… And How To Beat Them

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The combination of web analytics and a thoughtful SEO strategy is a winner. Here’s one of my favourite strategies to ensure you’re beating your competition at SEO linkbuilding.


On MetaFilter Being Penalized By Google: An Explainer

Google Cop Big MetaFilter is a news and discussion site dating back to the early years of the web. Founded in 1999, it's attracting attention this week after coming forward about how a Google penalty has severely harmed its business, to the degree of having to let staff go. It serves as a poster child of problems with Google's penalty process, despite all the advances Google has made over the years. Google Hits Sites Large & Small If you just can't wait to get to the specifics of what happened to MetaFilter, scroll further down in this story now. But I'd encourage you to go through the background e [...]


Scaling & Systematizing Your Link Building

links-featured I'm all about systems and processes. That's the only way to scale. You could be the best link builder in the world, but how are you going to scale that? Until you remove the bottleneck -- namely yourself -- from the system, you can't achieve true scale. (At least until human cloning becomes a reality.) Low quality link building is easy to scale (e.g., mindless robotic scripts that send out email spam to webmasters, or huge offshore link building firms), but that's the path to destruction in the form of Google penalties. Building high quality links -- editorial links that are earned by me [...]


Got SEO Basics? 5 Tips To Boost Your Organic CTR

Building_Blocks There's no shortage of new digital marketing channels these days -- and while they are innovative, exciting, and fun to experiment with, they can also distract you from SEO basics that can deliver performance gains. Your organic click-through rate (CTR) is a great example. A simple page title tweak could take you from driving 2% of consumers to your landing page, to driving 20%! But today, your organic CTR can be affected by several different elements. Below we'll take a look at five factors in your control: 1.  Search Engine Results Page (SERP) Ranking Marketers everywhere are chasing [...]


Secrets Of Successful Enterprise SEO Part III: Build A Business Case

SEL-2 A decade ago, I had an incredible opportunity to work at an amazing organization called The Bradford Exchange. Most people have never heard of it, but it is the world’s leading direct marketer of limited-edition collectibles and jewelry. What made my experience at Bradford so incredible was their meticulous attention to detail and single-minded focus on driving their business by numbers -- something that has been ingrained into me ever since my time there. The part that wasn't so fun at Bradford was being the only search marketer in a half-billion-dollar organization trying to build up [...]


Manual Spam Action Revoked! A Case Study

road-to-recovery-featured Checklists of how to get out of a Google penalty abound. Five things you should do, five things you shouldn't do, etc. But the number one thing you shouldn't do is ignore it. I want to tell you the story of a two-year long penalty, the steps we took and how something we never thought would work… finally did. No Impact On Organic Traffic The client was a purveyor of a highly competitive retail product -- one of the top in the world, with over 10 million visits per month. Back in July 2012, the client received the first notice that there were "unnatural links pointing to the site." But the c [...]


How To Drive PPC And SEO Synergy In Large Enterprises

I recently had a prospect ask me whether it's ideal to have one team handle both the SEO and PPC efforts for an enterprise. To a large degree, that depends on the capabilities of your in-house group or external agency -- world-class PPC and SEO advice seldom coincide with each other, and often one can be better off engaging a firm with deep expertise in a particular channel in order to "move the dial" for that channel. There are some areas where SEO and PPC efforts dovetail nicely; however, this doesn't mean the same person or the same team needs to manage both in order for an enterprise [...]


How 90s HTML Coding Will Save The SEO World In 2014

Sprite sheets are a cutting edge technique for mobile SEO strategies.

A surprising blast from the coding past has been making a comeback via SEO, and is frequently making its way into the core of advanced responsive design thinking: the humble sprite.


Can Bing Be More Competitive In Search?

bing-satori-knowledge2-featured Recently, Nathan Safran wrote a piece titled, "The Bing Dilemma: What To Do With The Little Search Engine That Can't." In it, he posits that everything Bing has done in the past to grab market share is not working, partly because people are so used to using Google that any hope of capturing market share from the #1 player is an impossible dream. He suggests that, since the online division has been "bleeding rivers of cash with little to show for it" for many years, it might be time for Bing to give up altogether. I would grant Bing a little more gravitas and a little more time. With new [...]


Advanced SEO Analysis – Part 1: SEO Research & Wisdom Of The Crowd

Wisdom_of_the_Crowd A couple of years ago, I was invited to speak at the SMX Advanced conference in Seattle on the topic of SEO and competitive intelligence. It is an area of SEO I'm passionate about, not only because it is one of the most difficult things in SEO to scale and do right,  but also because it is one of the foundations of a good SEO program. Before I dive into outlining one of the advanced approaches to SEO analysis that I shared at the conference, it's important to understand the genesis of the approach. Before I was building the machine-learning algorithms behind our Enterprise SEO platform, [...]


How To Optimize Database-Driven B2B Websites

global business network traffic Database-driven websites are very common in the B2B sector. This is because many companies want to have a catalog of products available on their site for distributors, but it would not be cost-effective to manually build out those pages as they are meant to generate leads, not revenue. Optimizing database-driven B2B sites follows the same basic SEO principles as any other site, but the execution is much different. Below is a simple guide on how to optimize dynamic content for product catalogs or similar content. How Database-Driven Sites Work If you aren't familiar with how a database- [...]


5 Not-So-Common Reconsideration Request Errors

SEO I've been struggling with a particularly difficult link cleanup project lately. On the occasion of my 100th reconsideration request (4th for this particular client), I thought it might be helpful to share five not-so-common problems that you might run into during your own link cleanup project. [Editor's note: Since this post was originally published, it's received praise from two Googlers: webmaster trends analyst John Mueller and webspam head Matt Cutts! Which just goes to show how important it is that you continue reading!] 1. Don't Block Your Pages With Robots.txt One good solution to [...]


Three Steps for Crushing Multi-Location Local Search

local-search-featured Research firm BIA/Kelsey reports that 97% of consumers use online media to shop locally. If you're a multi-location business, this means it's more important than ever to be visible to Web users in all your business locations. This column tells you how to crush it. Based on my own daily searches, it's clear to me that many local businesses (especially brick-and-mortar multi-location businesses) are not optimized for local search marketing. If you're a business with multiple store locations, with a dealership network, or with multiple state or national branch offices, there's a good chance [...]


Infographic: How To Troubleshoot Google Authorship Issues, A Step-By-Step Flowchart

google-authorship-featured In October, I spoke at SMX East about some of the opportunities and challenges when implementing Google Authorship. At about the same time, a good friend of mine reached out to me with her authorship issue. While she appeared to have authorship markup set up correctly on her blog and linked correctly from Google+, her author image wasn't appearing in SERPs -- but did show for others writing on her blog. She's not the first person to reach out to me with an issue like this. Authorship setup can be confusing at best, and even when you think you have everything set up correctly, you still may [...]


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