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The Best Tools and Methods for Improving Your Local SEO Presence
Small businesses often find it nearly impossible to rank on the first page of a Google search for competitive keywords. Most of the highly-searched terms are being used by their much larger competitors.
A smaller business, however, can rank high in local searches by using local SEO tactics. According to SE Talks, nearly “30% of the total searches in Google per month are localized searches”. This means that this 30% isn’t looking for the “top mechanics in the nation”. Instead, they want the “top mechanics in the New Orleans area”. A local business probably may not rank nationally, but it can take advantage of this large search pool that wants to find a business closer to home. Local SEO helps level the playing field, allowing local businesses to rank on the first page SERPs in their service areas.
Why Use Local SEO
Yet, small businesses need to rank near the top of the SERPs since sites on the first page of results get over 90% of total search traffic. Also, people want to research businesses before they buy anything, but they tend to buy within 10 to 20 miles of their current location.
Taking advantage of readily available localized search sites puts a business ahead of competitors that are not aggressively utilizing these channels. Also, when a business claims their local SEO listing, it will show up on Google maps, local business directories and even on mobile devices. The Google Hummingbird algorithm update more closely entwined mobile and local search to provide better, faster results to mobile device users. Taking advantage of mobile is very important since it accounts for nearly 30% of total web traffic, a huge audience of potential customers. Plus, over 80% of people who use their mobile devices to look for businesses “tend to make call or visit the location within 24 hours so the conversion rate of the local searches is very high”.
Going local can increase conversions and build brand awareness since businesses will show up in local searches more often. For a little amount of work, this increase in visibility will result in a high return on investment.
Methods for Building A Local Presence
Use this checklist to ensure that your business is fully take advantage of local search:
Why does your small business website need Google Analytics?
Knowledge is power, and Google Analytics gives you all of the knowledge you need to understand your website’s success.
Analytics shows you where your visitors come from, how they got to your site, the actions that they took while on your site, and so much more. All of this information is useful for creating marketing campaigns, pay-per-click campaigns, accessing the success of social media campaigns, and testing SEO campaigns… to name only a few benefits. Essentially, Google Analytics helps small business owners get to know their audience and their potential customers.
Plus, it’s free. You can’t beat free.
How to get started with Google Analytics
Firing up Google Analytics isn’t as simple as just signing up for an account. The process is easy enough, but there are a few steps you’ll need to take before Google starts curating your metrics.
Signing up for an account is the first step, but you’ll also need to install a tracking code on your website. Google details the process thoroughly in its Getting Started Guide, so give that a read.
Important metrics to understand
Monitoring your website’s analytics won’t do much good if analyzing the metrics feels like reading Latin. You can create custom reports for nearly every metric imaginable, but here are a few numbers to pay attention to:
·Bounce Rate: The Bounce Rate measures the percentage of your site’s visits that weren’t quality visits. A visitor is considered “bounced” out of your site if they’ve only viewed a single page, hit the back button or typed in a new URL as soon as they entered your site, or anything else that results in a brief stay. For example, a bounce rate in the 70s is high because it shows that 7 out of 10 visitors didn’t interact with your site.
·Pages Per Visit: This number helps quantify engagement. How many pages did people view on your site? A “good” number for this metric will depend on the content of your site and it’s design. If your site’s content is on a few pages, a lower Pagers Per Visit metric isn’t terrible. If you have a ton of pages with loads of products or services and other information, you’ll want that number to be higher.
·Average Visit Duration: How long did a person spend on your website? 20 seconds, or 5 minutes? Again, whether this number is “good” or not will depend on the type of content on your site.
·Traffic Sources: Google Analytics breaks down all of the traffic sources that got visitors to your website. You can view the metrics for search-related sources, referrals from other sites, or direct hits from bookmarks or typing in the URL. Under the Search portion you can see which keywords visitors typed in before landing at your domain. Similarly, Referral numbers are important. Do your top referrals come from links on popular industry sites, social media, mobile, or some combination of these? Knowing these numbers can help you plan an effective marketing strategy. There’s no reason not to use Google Analytics
Google Analytics can truly be the foundation of a successful online marketing plan. There are plenty of experts who know the metrics and their consequences inside and out, but even casual users can glean plenty of useful data from Analytics.