If you have read up on anything involving Local Search Engine Optimization or Maps SEO, you will have heard marketers talk about “Local Citations”. So, just what are they, and why are they so important in helping you to rank higher in local searches related to your business?
Google’s earliest method or algorithm for ranking of webpages was called “PageRank“, developed in 1996, and it was based upon a system they built to automatically calculate numerical scores for webpages based upon the numbers of links each page had pointing to it, and the scores of those pages linking in. The concept was initially inspired by analysis of academic research papers — those papers that had a greater number of other research papers mentioning them in reference citations could be considered to be more important or more popular. Looking for a similar indicator in the worldwide web, the founders of Google decided that links might be quite similar for evaluating relative popularity of webpages.
Fast forward to the present, and Google’s ranking algorithms are much more sophisticated, even though PageRank link analysis is still a part of it. Google now uses over 200 ranking factors, many of which may have 50+ dimensions, and they also use different types of ranking algorithms for the different specialized “vertical” search engines they operate — such as Image Search, Video Search, News Search, Local/Map Search, and more.
For performing Local Search for businesses, Google’s engineers developed another type of citation that they could incorporate as a ranking signal — a “local citation” — and patented this as part of a local ranking method. Local search optimization experts such as David Mihm were inspired to declare citations to be the “new link” where local business rankings are concerned. (Some refer to these as “local references”, too.) Read the rest of this entry »
Chris Silver Smith, President of Argent Media, will be speaking and moderating at the upcoming SMX Milan conference in Milan, Italy, at the Milano Congressi from November 7-8, 2013 in the following sessions:
In the “How To Build Links & Win Authority Through Public Relations” session, Chris will present a number of strategic methods for leveraging images to obtain links and develop social influence. Images are perhaps considered Google’s second-most important asset, since Google puts links to their image search vertical in second place in their top navigation, directly after their main keyword web search. As such, effective use of images can be cultivated to help push a site’s performance up to the next level.
In The “Maps, Metros & Mobile: Surviving And Thriving In Local Search” session, Chris will provide a number of sound tactics that can help companies obtain top rankings in local search queries and in map searches.
We will hope to see many of our Italian and European colleagues at the first ever SMX Milan!
Most people focus upon the impression that’s made about them when their name is searched-for through search engines. The impression that’s made has a much bigger impact than a mere emotional abstraction — it can directly impact a business or individual’s income. It’s often hard to quantify these effects, but if a change happens to your online reputation — positive or negative — you can sometimes see exactly what the impact is.
We don’t often publicize this, but Argent Media provides Online Reputation Management (“ORM”) services — particularly online reputation repair or clean-up — for a number of individuals and companies. We’re often asked how fast we can “cleanse” the search results of negative content.
The truth is, this depends upon each situation. If someone posted something nasty about you recently, and if there’s relatively few people searching for your name or brandname, and if there’s not a lot of links or clicks to the bad page, it could be fairly easy and quick to push it down and out-of-site and out-of-mind.
But, if there’s a substantial amount of bad content that is relevant for your name, and if it’s pretty well-established, with significant numbers of links pointing to it… it can require more time, more content, and more effort to improve the situation.
One of our reputation repair clients recently shared some of their internal metrics with us, demonstrating precisely how effective this type of work can be. Here’s some of the actual metrics. Read the rest of this entry »
In the “Photo” session, Chris will present a number of strategic methods for using photographic images to increase companies’ channel distribution potential and to achieve higher website rankings. Images are perhaps considered Google’s second-most important asset, since Google places links to their image search vertical in second slot, directly after their main keyword web search. As such, effective use of images can be cultivated to help push a site’s performance up into the next level.
In both the “Local Search” and “Structured Data” sessions, Chris will speak on methods for using semantic markup to improve performance in search engines.
Chris helped to pioneer the use of semantic markup for the purpose of search marketing and was likely the first to specifically recommend it for SEO and Local SEO as an optimization tactic, based upon his knowledge in the development of local search technology from his work at Superpages.com. Those recommendations actually predated adoption of microformats by both Yahoo! and Google’s map search engines Read the rest of this entry »
Chris Silver Smith is speaking on semantic markup for local search optimization tonight at the Dallas/Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing Association meeting in Richardson. He’ll be speaking along with Greg Gifford, the Director of Search and Social for AutoRevo.
Chris recently wrote a few articles on semantic markup, such as 13 Semantic Markup Tips for 2013: A Local SEO Checklist, Local SEO 101: Local Breadcrumbs, and SEO: Breadcrumbs Are Bread-and-Butter touches upon the semantic markup for breadcrumbs as well.
Chris also long been a proponent of semantic markups, prior to their adoption as special signals by the major search engines. (See just a few examples: Tips for Local Search Engine Optimization for Your Site, the hCard Microformat & Local Search Optimization, and Optimize Local Events with hCalendar Microformat.) The current primary semantic markup standard accepted by Google and Bing is the Schema.org protocol, based on micro data.
Semantic markup is a valuable SEO tactic to use in a site’s natural search strategy, because it enables search engines to more effectively interpret and understand a website’s content, and it helps increase the chances that this content might be featured more prominently in search results by way of Rich Snippets. Read the rest of this entry »
Argent Media’s President, Chris Silver Smith, will be speaking in Charlotte, NC, on the topic of Local SEO at the annual SearchExchange Internet Marketing Conference, on July 24 2012.
Smith will cover some of Google’s “Prominence” ranking factors, and some techniques for how local businesses may optimize for advantage through them. “Prominence” is something of a catch-all term which Google engineers have used to collectively refer to ranking signals which help them to determine the relative popularity of one business versus others in the same area and business type category. Prominence factors in local search engine optimization can be subtle and complex, making it increasingly difficult for marketers to understand what they can do to influence their rankings in Google Place Search and in Google Maps. Smith’s presentation will clearly explain some of the criteria used by the search engines, and will provide some concrete methods for enhancing the ranking power of local business listings in search results.
This week, Smith also published an article which illustrates how Foursquare and check-in services could be a Local Seo ranking factor.
To keep up with future events featuring Chris Silver Smith, watch the Argent Media Appearances page.
The 2012 edition of David Mihm’s annual Local Search Ranking Factors survey has been released this week, and the general summary concludes that most of the influential ranking signals continue to be beneficial. From a glance at the report, relatively few signals shifted significantly from last year’s report.
As the summary states, the main changes to Google’s local search results seem to be in terms of the user-interface. The numbers of local listings occurring, the search phrases which invoke the local listings under Universal Search, and the presentation of those listings within the layout have been shifting.
Argent Media President, Chris Silver Smith, participated in the survey, along with numerous other established voices specialized in local search engine marketing.
Smith provides a few observations and comments upon this year’s survey results: Read the rest of this entry »
Chris Silver Smith, president of Argent Media, was recently interviewed by a Seattle Times reporter, and she’d asked him to conjecture on some of the things Costco might choose to do in order to improve their site for search. (See the article at “Costco makes plans for boosting its online sales“)
He pointed out a number of very elemental search ranking elements which Costco.com had neglected — such as failure to include appropriate keyword phrases in page Titles, URLs and image ALT parameters. While he didn’t perform a deep analysis, and there were some things which were likely performing adequately for search rankings for some of the site’s pages, even at this quick, cursory audit it was apparent that a number of basic changes and improvements would likely improve Costco.com’s performance significantly.
As yet another example of a basic SEO gaffe, if you go to the short URL for Costco’s site: Read the rest of this entry »
At the meeting, Chris will be presenting some techniques for Advanced Local Citation Development. Read the rest of this entry »
Argent Media’s Chris Silver Smith will be appearing and speaking at the Search Starts Here conference in Boca Raton, Florida, on April 23rd and 24th. He will be speaking on topics involving the future of local search, strategic tactics for companies interested in competing in the local search space, and on aspects around locational technologies.
The Search Starts Here conference is hosted by the Local Search Association and BIA/Kelsey.
Friends of Argent Media may partake of a $200 discount – click here for the Search Starts Here Conference Coupon. The coupon contains links to register with the discount code, or it may be printed for in-person registration.
Announcing the launch of the newest search marketing agency in Dallas — Argent Media!
Chris Silver Smith, President of Argent Media, has just been interviewed by Ash Nallawalla at Train SEM this past weekend.
Silver describes how he got his start in SEO and Local SEO, some of his early mentors, advice about getting started in the industry, and more.
Check it out!
In Chris Silver Smith’s most recent article on Search Engine Land, he provides some suggestions for local optimizations of business profiles for Bing’s Business Portal.
While these tips may be basic, some of the information he points out — such as how images may help improve local rankings, and how including hours of operation might improve mobile rankings and conversions — is less intuitive stuff which small businesses and local marketers may not have considered.
Check out the full article: 10 Basic Bing Local Optimization Tips
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