How to Improve Local SEO Results When Using a Digital Marketing Agency

How to Improve Local SEO Results When Using a Digital Marketing Agency

Written by Zac Johnson

Running a business can be very rewarding and exciting, but there are also many challenges that you have to try to overcome. One of these barriers is the stiff level of competition you face, no matter what industry you are in. If you want to be able to compete effectively with rivals, you have to ensure you have a solid marketing strategy in place and that the solutions you use actually work.

Unfortunately, just ‘creating content’ is never going to get you there. To rank in Google, your site will need powerful backlinks to improve the Domain Authority and Page Authority rankings of your site. Without these in place, your site will likely be found in Google for a wide range of long tail keywords, but likely somewhere between pages 10 to 100 — which is pretty much useless.

In order to effectively rank online and compete against already established sites, you will need to come up with a very creative and highly effective content creation and marketing plan. If you are a single person (or small) business, you will likely find that this task in itself could be a full time business, which is why many organizations outsource the process to a trustworthy digital marketing agency.

To help with the process of winning the war of online marketing and SEO, let’s cover some of the most important factors when trying to find a trustworthy digital marketing agency, and where/how you might want to focus your efforts and advertising dollars.

Local is Extremely Effective for Targeted Ads and SEO

When looking at the internet as a whole, there are more than a billion active sites online — which means they are all creating new content all the time, getting new social shares/backlinks, and ranking in Google. If you want to compete on this global scale, be ready for some massive competition.

At the same time, many smaller and local businesses don’t have the funds or resources to compete at these levels. For this reason, they should focus heavily on their local SEO rankings, paid advertising and demographic audience.

Neon Ambition, an SEO in Austin, has been working with companies for years now on how to improve their local reach and targeting, while also explaining the importance of how to find a positive ROI with SEO marketing, which can have a pretty much limitless ad spend cap.

They recommended the following take place:

“Having worked with hundreds of clients on a local specific ad campaign, we understand not only how hard it can be for a local business to rank, but also for them to spend a limited budget and see results at the same time. We have found great success with building localized content then targeting and remarketing location audiences to come back to the site once again. By additional social media and occasionally backlinking to such articles and resources, we continue to see progressive SEO growth month after month, while not requiring small mom and pops to spend thousands of dollars per month in the process.”

When it comes to local SEO and handing your business off to a digital marketing agency, it’s also important to have some basic understanding of how SEO works for your own personal and business expertise. You will also want to look for the following badges and certifications, as they will give you a better indication on how efficient and trusted an ad agency might be.

A great article on this topic can be found on Forbes, which ranks the following three factors as key elements that should be used when trying to rank in Google, target audiences, and find a positive ROI with local online advertising.

A company’s rank in Google My Business (GMB) results can be boiled down to three distinct areas of focus:

  1. Relevance
  2. Distance
  3. Prominence

How to Use Content and Social Networks to Improve Rankings

As previously mentioned, if you want to rank in Google, you need to have a powerful website and/or blog with established backlinks. If you don’t have this in place, it’s something you can build up over time. However, at the moment, not all is lost.

Thanks to the power of social media, you can rank Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, and other social profile or local directories pretty fast and easy in Google. Since most of these sites are already trusted in the eyes of Google, it doesn’t take much to rank such inner profiles and pages on their site.

In that same Forbes article mentioned above, they highlight the following methods for relying on social media and local directories to improve site rankings and being found by your target audience.

  • Select a high-volume keyword phrase that has location intent. Typically, for an attorney, this will be “practice area” plus “city name.” For example, “personal injury lawyer Philadelphia.”
  • Create a page on your site targeting this phrase.
  • Include the phrase in your page title, headings, page copy, meta description and image file names.
  • Include your name, address and phone number on the page.
  • Include the phrase in your page permalink as such: example.com/city-name/target-keyword-phrase/

By following these simple tips, there is no reason why your brand shouldn’t be able to rank for all ten listings on the main page of Google for your personal brand or business name. It’s something I’ve been able to do for my “Zac Johnson” name for quite a while now.

Social media is out there and it’s free to use. So take advantage of it!

Quick Ideas and Tips to Improve Local SEO on Your Own

There are many advantages to using a digital marketing agency when trying to rank and promote your local business, especially if you have no idea where to start. But there are also many things you can do on your own time to help promote your site and grow it’s site rankings and power over time.

Here are some quick ideas and tips to get started.

  • Have a blog. This one is a no-brainer, as it will allow you to create content for your site and will also start ranking your site in Google for long tail keywords. Also remember to effectively promote each blog post, and don’t expect people to find them on their own.
  • Create visuals and infographics for social media. This is a great idea, as everyone is already on social media and if you have a new recipe or service coming out, if you can make a quick infographic or animated video, it’s much more likely to be seen and shared.
  • Contribute to expert round ups. Depending on your niche market and business, this one might work or it might not. Check out these expert roundup examples and you can learn more about this.
  • Guest blogging on other industry/local blogs. Again, this comes down to the process of creating content for your sited within your industry, and then gaining exposure and getting backlinks as a way of compensation for your time, expertise and articles.

It’s likely that your digital marketing agency will be handling a lot of this, but there is no reason why you couldn’t start working on some of this at the same time. If you end up securing some nice placements and start to get a good feeling for how local SEO and audience targeting works, it might be something that you want to bring in-house as well.

Finding the Best Local Ad Agency for Your Business

When going with any local ad agency or digital marketing firm, make sure you always do all of the necessary research. Also, try to stay out of a super long term contract. Most SEO campaigns and work can take anywhere from 3-9 months before you start seeing real results.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to shoot me an email and I can help out with any questions you might have.

How To Set Up RSS Feed For WordPress Using Feedburner

How To Set Up RSS Feed For WordPress Using Feedburner

How To Set Up RSS Feed For WordPress Using Feedburner

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An essential action that I suggest to every blogger is setting up Feedburner after creating your WordPress or BlogSpot blog. It is a must-have service for bloggers to set up an RSS feed and track the performance.

 

Setup RSS Feed for WordPress Blog

 

Features of FeedBurner

 

  • It’s free and simple to use.
  • It offers some excellent email newsletter features like free email subscription, email delivery time, and email subject title.
  • There is no limit to the number of subscribers using Feedburner.
  • You can also use Adsense for feeds to monetize FeedBurner feeds.
  • More options for branding, controlling and tracking your feed and email subscriber.

A couple of points to take care:

  • When you are starting a new blog, make sure you burn the feed from the first day.
  • From the SEO perspective, it’s a good idea to use keywords or brand name in your feed. It makes it easier to spot among various other feeds.

This is a guide for Blogspot or WordPress bloggers who are still using the default feed provided by blog platform. Learn how to set up RSS feed using FeedBurner.

Guide to set up FeedBurner RSS feed:

1. Open Google FeedBurner page and sign in using your Gmail or Google apps account. On the first page, you will see an option to add your blog URL. If it’s a new WordPress blog, create a dummy post (test post) to set up feedBurner.

burn RSS feed

2. Copy your blog feed URL and paste it as shown in the picture and click on next.

Burn Feed Feedburner

For any WordPress blog, your default feed would be something like http://domain.com/feed. Replace domain.com with an actual domain name.

3. In the next page specify the feed name. Keep it same as your domain name. In case if you have a long domain name, you can use the short name for your feeds. For example, SML (Shoutmeloud). If you are creating a micro niche site, you should prefer using your keyword in the feed title. It helps your feed reach a bigger audience.

4. In the next screen, you will get a confirmation message stating your feed is ready.

Now you have successfully created a Feedburner feed for your blog. All you need to do is install  FD Feedburner plugin, and redirect all WordPress default feeds to Feedburner feed.

These plugins are simple to configure, and once done, it will automatically take care of redirection. Now, you can make many changes in your Feedburner account as recommended below, that will ensure you make most out of Email delivery and feeds.

How to Configure FeedBurner Free Email Subscription Feature

Feedburner provides you with an Email subscription option for your readers which can be used to get notified via Email. The Feature can be accessed under your feeds settings of Feed burner > Publicize > Email subscription.

Activate the option and grab the provided HTML codes.

Grab the above code and Embed it into the text widget of your WordPress blog.

Moreover, if you want to give a Direct link, as I have on my blog in my author info

Use this link and replace Shoutmeloud with your Feed name

http://feedburner.google.com/fb/a/mailverify?uri=Shoutmeloud

This above link will directly send readers to email subscription box.

How to change Feedburner Email delivery time:

Here are a few things which you should know about Feedburner, It lets you send one mail/day and you can set only one time for sending.

Even if you publish 4-5 or 10 posts, it doesn’t matter as Feedburner will send Email only once in a day. So, you need to understand the demographics of your audience and location and send Email accordingly.

One thing which I have learned from my experience, Emails sent on Weekend doesn’t perform that great and instead of that Email sent on Weekdays preferable Tue-Thursday works great.

So, I assume you have figured out the best time to send an Email newsletter, and next step is to configure the best time for Email delivery

To change the scheduled time for email delivery, log in to your Feedburner account.

  • Click on your feeds> Click on publicize

Feedburner Publicize

  • Under Publicize > Click on Email delivery and under sub menu click on> Delivery option

Set your time zone and preferred time for delivery options. Click on save. While selecting time, keep a note of your target users and their usage.

You can also consider subscribing to ShoutMeLoud Email newsletter :

Enter your email address:
Delivered by FeedBurner

How to Change Feedburner Email Subject Title to Make it more Effective

Recently (Months back) Feedburner added a new option on Email subscription option in which instead of showing the same title, newsletter will show the latest post title in Email sent to your Email subscribers.

This is very effective; when you are delivering more than 1 posts via Feedburner Email, you can show the latest post title instead of showing any crappy multi post subject. Single post title will make it very effective and your readers are more likely to click on it.

To access this option login to your feed burner account and navigate to  > Publicize > Email subscription > Email Branding. There change the title of your feed to

${latestItemTitle} : ShoutMeloud

Feedburner Email Subject Title

I added ShoutMeLoud for branding purpose. You should change it according to your brand. This is a quick Feedburner trick and is very effective.

There are many other settings which we need to set up to optimize your feeds after burning it using Feedburner, which we will cover in the upcoming posts.

As a free option, Feedburner is the best, but I miss many features when I compare to other paid and cheap options available in the market.

How can Feedburner become very popular?

Here I’m suggesting few new features which will improve Feedburner drastically:

Reminder Email for unconfirmed Subscription:

The biggest problem with Feedburner email subscription is you can’t send reminder Email officially from feed burner interface. And when any user tried to subscribe to your Email newsletter but forget to click on confirmation Email, he will never receive any Email, and your stats will show another unconfirmed Email subscriber.

This is annoying as manually managing them is not easy. If Feedburner introduces this feature to send confirmation reminder again after certain days like Aweber, this will be a huge plus point.

User Management:

User control and management is the first thing which I will be looking into my Email marketing tool.

That’s the reason I’m paying for Aweber and using it as one of Email marketing software. How about an option to search for users, delete users and temporary block users.

How about an option to select multiple users at the same time and perform an action.

Easy subscribe/unsubscribe service for readers:

How about a common interface for readers where they can see which all Email newsletter they are subscribed to. Where they can select to activate, deactivate subscription. And based on past subscription, suggested email newsletters, the user should subscribe to. This will eventually profit all 3 of us. Admin, readers, and Feedburner.

Email Newsletter:

In WordPress, we can use certain hacks to send Email to only Feed subscribers, but if Feedburner wishes to expand its boundaries, they need to start offering the broadcast feature.

Where we can send an Email newsletter to only Feed subscribers, this will cut down the need for our paid email marketing tool.  Maybe as a free service, they can limit it to a certain number and can also offer a pro service of Feedburner, where the unlimited broadcast is possible. Imagine as a webmaster; this will help you to grow your Email list tremendously.

Email list option:

For any blog which may be divided into a different segment. ( Lots of different categories). I would love to create an Email list based on interest.

May be an Email list for people who love contest and free giveaways, another one for WordPress lovers. By using WordPress condition tag I can achieve this, but then I have to burn different feeds.

Custom design Templates:

All newbie use Feedburner Email subscription service from day1. Though many of them are not good with coding and designing. How about if feed burner will start offering a custom template for the Email subscription and that will enhance the look and feel of subscription box. More call to action and more Email subscribers for you.

I hope we will see an updated version of Feedburner soon and Feed burner guys will notice this guide. 

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A Practical Guide For Growing Blog Traffic Using SEMrush

A Practical Guide For Growing Blog Traffic Using SEMrush

A Practical Guide For Growing Blog Traffic Using SEMrush

grow blog traffic using SEMrush

SEMrush is one of my favorite tools, and I have mentioned it many times at ShoutMeLoud.

It was around 2012 when I started using this simple search engine marketing tool, and in the past 8 years, it has become one of the go-to tools for bloggers and SEO companies.

If you are an existing user of SEMrush, awesome! You must know how great it is.

14 days is a good enough time for you to try out all the below-mentioned features as you improve your blog’s search engine presence (which will significantly increase revenue).

Recently, SEMrush has added some amazing new features. Here are my favorites…

New Features Of SEMrush To Grow Your Online Business:

1. Site SEO Audit

SEMrush now offers a complete site SEO audit with every plan (including their most basic “Pro” plan) which lets you find all of the SEO issues on your blog.

You can set up your site audit as a “campaign” and let it run at specified intervals (every week, every month, etc.).

SEMRUSH project

 

 

Here is a report from a WPSutra.com (formerly WpFreesetup.com) site audit:

SEMrush site audit 

  • Bonus Tip: If you are setting up Site Audit for the first time, you have an option to select different crawlers. By default, the SEMrush desktop bot is selected for crawling, and you can change it to the Google desktop or mobile bot. I prefer the Google bot and suggest the same for you as it’s better to see the SEO report from Google’s perspective.

Crawler settings SEMRUSh

2. Social Media Analytics

This feature is in beta, but it is available for all current SEMrush customers.

Social analytics are a very important aspect of SEO and are often overlooked by bloggers.

This feature of SEMrush lets you audit your Facebook, Twitter, and G+ account.

Social media analytics SEMRUSh

You can also check your competitor’s social media account to measure how well you are doing against them.

social media email report

  • (At this time, SEMrush’s “Social Media” tool only supports the above-mentioned reporting.)

Your goal is to always get the green mark in your weekly report.

Here is the report from ShoutMeLoud’s social media channels:

Social media report

What I like here is the comprehensive detail on everything, including number of updates and engagement rate.

If you have a close competitor, you can get vital data like how often they are updating their social media account, and you can plan your strategy around their marketing campaign.

Since this tool is still in beta, I have a couple of suggestions:

  • YouTube integration: Having YouTube here would be really helpful. These days, all bloggers are quite active with video blogging, and YouTube is always the platform of choice. I have mentioned earlier about VidIQ for YouTube users, and having that kind of data (data shown by VidIQ or TubeBuddy) would make SEMrush’s social media feature an idle choice among video bloggers.
  • Improve engagement: Optimizing social media accounts based directly on a competitor’s report would also be very useful (especially for newbies).

3. SEO Ideas (You will love this)

This is a holy-grail for bloggers who understand the importance of keyword optimization.

The SEO Ideas tool simplifies the tasks associated with web page optimization.

By auditing your landing pages that appear in Google SERPs and comparing them to your competitors’ pages for the same keywords, SEMrush will give you recommendations for your optimization strategy and keyword targeting that could improve your search engine ranking.

Check SEO optimization of a page

You need to manually add all the pages of your website and add in keywords for which you want to get ideas. The report will be generated instantly.

Here’s what that looks like:

SEO optimization ideas

The coolest part is that it automatically pulls up landing pages with keywords based on your position checker settings. (I talk about the keyword position checker in the next section.)

This tool analyzes the top 10 pages ranking for the same keyword (in Google) and suggests you changes on how to improve your rankings.

For backlink building, you also get suggestions for domains where you should try acquiring a backlink for higher ranking.

Here is an example of an SEO Ideas report page:

Improve webpage ranking

  • You should not miss their SEO Ideas statistics page, which is a dashboard in itself.

Here you can find the pages which need optimization (provided you have added them as mentioned above).

SEO suggestion dashboard

This is one feature that is under-utilized by many SEMrush users, and it really is something that you should not miss.

4. Keyword Position Tracking

Tracking your keyword position is probably the most important aspect of your website’s SEO.

The keyword tracking feature is the reason I started using SEMrush regularly.

Recently, they have just made a bunch of changes, and their tracking now includes:

  • Support for local SEO
  • Tracking keywords based on device

Keyword ranking tracker

What I like most about this feature is the ability to add keywords directly from Google Analytics. This really helps speed up the process.

In the below image, you can see some keywords which have been picked from my Google Analytics account.

The “Sandbox” is where suggested keywords are shown, and you can add or remove keywords as you wish.

Track Keyword ranking in Google

Don’t forget to check the “Send me weekly updates” section. You will receive a weekly email where you can track which keywords’ rankings have improved and which keywords have lost their ranking.

SEMrush Can Do A Lot more

I have been a long time user of SEMrush and it’s only because they keep raising the bar and adding new features which are amazing.

Not only did SEMrush help me grow my main blogs, it also helped me keep the SEO of my micro-niche site up-to-date. Usually, these micro-niche sites are ‘set it and forget it’, so manually keeping track of their SEO progress is a real pain. But SEMrush has stepped in and made this process a breeze.

If you are using SEMrush already, log in to your dashboard and start playing with these awesome features. If you don’t yet have an account, you can use the link below to get a 14-day (completely free) trial with access to all of these cool features included.

So now it’s your turn to let me know: How’s SEMrush working out for you? What’s your favorite feature? Do share your review and experiences with me in the comments below.

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