Natural Search Blog


Google Maps Should Consider A Canonical Phone Number Tag

Google Maps, local search engines, internet yellow pages and other online business directories often receive biz listing info from a great many sources and must merge it together (see my description of this in Eric Enge’s interview with me). When this happens, loads of variations in the business’s name, address and even phone number can cause listing data to fail to be merged. All this makes me think we might need a “Canonical Tag” for phone numbers! Read on, and I’ll elaborate… (more…)

Local Store Inventories Might Help Yellow Pages SEO

In an article posted on Search Engine Land this morning, I outline how Google Maps are increasingly appearing for keyword searches, reducing referral traffic to internet yellow pages. In a brief companion piece, I also mention how embattled yellow pages should step-up their SEO game. If Google Trends is truly indicative of a sea-change that is hitting online yellow pages sites, then they must do something about it:

Top IYPs & Business Directory Sites
Natural Search Performance of Top Yellow Pages Sites in Google

(Click to enlarge) (more…)

Subdomains for Local Directory Sites?

Earlier this week, my column on “Domaining & Subdomaining in the Local Space – Part 1” went live at Search Engine Land. In it, I examine how a number of local business directory sites are using subdomains with the apparent desire to get extra keyword ranking value from them. Typically, they will pass the names of cities in the third-level-domain names (aka “subdomains”). Some sites doing that include:

In that installment, I conclude that the subdomaining for the sake of keyword ranking has no real benefit.

This assertion really can be extended out to all other types of sites as well, since the ranking criteria that the search engines use is not limited to only local info sites. Keywords in subdomains really have no major benefit.

SEO firms used to suggest that people deploy their content out onto “microsites” for all their keywords – a different domain name to target each one. This just isn’t a good strategy, really. Focus on improving the quality of content for each keyword, founded on its own page, and work on your link-building efforts (quality link-building, not unqualified bad-quality links). Tons of keyword domains or subdomains is no quick solution for ranking well.

Tempest in a Local Teacup

Okay, so in the ongoing minor brouhaha sparked from my “Extreme Local Search Optimization Tactics“, Dave Naffziger has posted a rebuttal of my recent post.

Just to clarify, if there was any doubt, and to steer the unwary newbies of search engine optimization from bad practices, I’m posting another follow-up rebuttal of the rebuttal of the rebuttal. Terribly recursive, I know, but bear with me and you might find this entertaining and informative. (more…)

Extreme Local Search Optimization Tactics

I make it a point to follow blogs and conference sessions to see what everyone recommends for “Local Search Optimization”, and I have to say that most of it’s repetitive and too limited.  Most folx who write about this subject have said little more than “put a business’s address and phone number on all their site’s pages”, and “update/enhance the business’s information in all the major directory sites”.  A lot of the focus is on search marketing, and very little has been outlined for optimizing for local search beyond all the aspects of traditional natural search optimization.

Local Search at Superpages.com

Similarly, I previously wrote on the subject and just added a marginally unique spin by suggesting that local biz sites should follow the hCard Microformat when adding the address and contact info to their site’s pages. Yet, I think all of us who work in local SEO have not really pushed the envelope much with these limited suggestions, and we haven’t really outlined a lot of the other areas where savvy webmasters and businesses could make themselves even more optimal for the local search paradigm.  Local Search is a unique beast, and in many ways is more complex than pure keyword search, so why hasn’t anyone addressed some of the unique aspects that could really drive a local business’s online referrals higher via optimizations?

So, I’m pulling out the stops and posting some strategies here that could inch a local business past its competition.  Some of these tips are not for the faint-of-heart, and may assume that you might change some things about your business that are traditionally things that people don’t consider changing just to improve referrals from online search. Read on and I’ll give you an insider’s tips for some extreme local optimizations!

(more…)

Tips for Local Search Engine Optimization for Your Site

Increasingly, businesses are becoming aware of Local Search, and how optimizing for this channel is vital for those that have local outlets. Each of the main search engines has focused effort on their local search tools as the best strategy for continuing growth in online advertising, and the subject has become sufficiently important enough to merit a special Search Engine Strategies Conference devoted to the subject tomorrow in Denver. The importance of Local Search is further underscored by stats issued in a press release today by comScore, showing that Local Search continues to gain in marketshare.

So, how exactly could one optimize towards Local Search?

Read on and I’ll outline a few key tips.
(more…)

local-search-engine-optimization

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