Google Plus and Local SEO
Keeping up with the latest search engine optimization SEO techniques can be a full time job. However, if you are in business then it really pays to stay on top of your website’s SEO. As business owners we are all clawing our way up the search engine results pages (SERP’s) in the never ending journey to the first page results. And when we get there; we have to look over our shoulder as our competition scratches and claws its way to catch us.
Many business owners manage their own SEO and others hire an SEO consultant or company to manage the campaign. Regardless of which category you fall in there are several things you need to know in order to keep your SEO on the up and up. If you are using a 3rd party Web Design or SEO Company I recommend some due diligence to ensure that you are getting the optimization that you are paying for. Even for the do it yourself business owner I recommend some tests to gauge your efforts.
1. Have your list of keywords handy.
2. Clear your cache, log out of Google or Yahoo or whatever you are signed into, and perform a search for your keywords.
3. Record the ranking for each keyword. You can also inspect the Meta description and make sure that the copy which is displaying in the SERP’s meets your standards, especially if someone else is doing the writing.
4. Log into Google analytics and look at your site traffic.
5. Check back every 90-120 days and see if anything has changed, for better or for worse. At the very least your ranking and overall site traffic should be roughly the same. If you are losing ground then it might be time to increase efforts or fire your SEO company.
Now that we have that out of the way and you have an idea of where your website ranks or doesn’t rank in Google we can discuss 2 SEO tasks which are relatively easy to execute. If you are not doing SEO yourself then ask your SEO company if it has a strategy for the following:
Rich Snippets and Microdata
Google + and Local Business
Rich Snippets and Microdata
Every page on your website can be easily understood by users when they read your web pages. However, search engines have a tougher time interpreting what is being discussed on your website. So, adding additional tags to the html of your web pages helps the search engines interpret what is written. The tags say, “Hey search engine, this information describes this specific place, or person, or video”. You can help search engines and other applications better understand your content and display it in a useful, relevant way. Microdata is a set of tags, introduced with HTML5, that allows you to do this.
Google +1 and Local Business
Google + is Google’s foray into social networking and can be leveraged for local businesses. Google + use may never threaten Facebook, but they are injecting this stuff into the search results.
To get started simply create a Google + account and add a local business to your page. If you already have a Google Places account set up you can merge these accounts. Verify your email address, website, add some images and content and you are ready to go.
As a local business you want to encourage locals to plus 1 your web pages. This will cause your search results to be favored for local searches by local searchers logged into a Google account.
Ok, let’s connect the dots real quick.
1. You or an SEO Company has optimized your website and your business is showing in Google search results.
2. There is Microdata that can be added to the pages of your website
3. Google wants to be Facebook
Give Your SEO a Boost and Improving Your Ranking in Google
You can use Microdata with information from your Google + account to improve your seo and ranking in Google. If you have designed and developed your website using WordPress the whole process becomes even
easier. There are WordPress plugins that assist you with the insertion of Microdata so you don’t have to get your hands messy in the HTML. Here are 2 that will get you started:
The Author Snippet Plugin for WordPress allows you to associate the content on your website and blog with your Google + personal and business account and your profile picture and/or business logo. You can see this demonstrated in this SERP. *Google no longer supports this feature but you can see what it used to look like.
Lastly, you can easily insert the Google +1 badge into your WordPress Website Design using a simple text widget. You can grab the badge code from your Google + account. Now, encourage people in your Google + circles and others to plus 1 your web pages. This will help improve your google search results for local searcher logged into a Google account.