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Google Manual Action Unnatural Links Penalty: Identification & Recovery

Posted By SEOValley on : May 17th, 2016

Google penalties are not only devastating for your business’ reputation and revenue, they are also very difficult to recover from. If you have noticed a considerable decrease in your search engine positions and traffic, then there is a chance that you may have been penalized. While there are two types of Google penalty – Manual & Algorithmic – we are going to talk about manual action penalties and how to recover from them.

Unnatural Links Penalty Identification & Recovery

How to Identify a Manual Penalty

Before you can fix your website, you need to determine the reason why you were penalized in the first place. Manual penalties occur when your site breaks one of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Someone from Google then manually inspects your website and applies a penalty, if it is found to violate their quality standards. This type of penalty is typically accompanied by a message, which you will see in your Google Search Console (Previously, Webmaster Tools) account. Both algorithmic and manual action unnatural links penalties are typically caused by low-quality and manipulative link building techniques.

Note: Manual penalties are not related to algorithmic changes like Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird.

Understanding What Causes Manual Actions

Unnatural link building practices such as buying/selling links, or participating in link farms to manipulate rankings violates Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, and this triggers a manual review.

If Google realizes that the unnatural links are out of your control, they usually won’t degrade your overall rankings. They will suggest removing the links you can control, but you will not be punished for the uncontrollable links.

However, if Google believes that you were involved in manipulative or deceptive linking practices and in link schemes, they may give you a manual penalty—and this can cause your overall rankings to plummet. Such a penalty can be extremely challenging to rectify. You must prove to Google that you are making a lot of effort to get rid of as many unnatural links to your site as you can and explain why you may not be able to remove some of the links.

Google does not only penalize websites with unnatural incoming links. A manual action can also be imposed on websites with unnatural outbound links. This can happen if Google thinks that your website is directly selling links to other websites or if it sees that you are offering ‘dofollow’ links for paid and sponsored reviews.

If you get this type of manual action, you need to remove exchange links, paid links, and all the other links you have ever given, that violate Google’s quality guidelines. Alternatively, you can use ‘nofollow’ tag on all such links – though this can be a tedious task if you have a lot of sponsored or paid links. You also need to sweep out the ‘dofollow’ links in the comments section of your forum or blog. Look for links that are irrelevant and unrelated to your website, as Google may have identified them as unnatural.

Recovering From a Manual Action Unnatural Links Penalty

Receiving a Google manual action penalty for having unnatural links—whether they are deliberate or not—is not the end of the world. The road to repairing your website and recovering your rankings and traffic may be long and challenging, but as long as you are honest and are willing to invest enough resources to correct the things that went wrong, then you should be able to survive.

There are certain tools you can use to easily collect backlinks data and identify toxic links. Google Search Console is one of them.

You can also make manual action penalty recovery much easier by seeking the help of a skilled SEO services company. At SEOValley, we offer a reliable and effective backlinks analysis and audit service that can verify the quality of your links and help you recover easily from Google’s manual action unnatural links penalty.


Site Navigation Optimization Best Practices to Maximize SEO Value

Posted By SEOValley on : May 16th, 2016

Search engines look at several factors when determining how your website should be ranked. Site navigation is one of the major elements that can influence your search engine ranking. By applying the best practices and optimizing your site’s navigation, you can give your visitors an easier way to get around your website so that they can find the things and information they need—and this can ultimately boost your SEO campaign. Here are the best practices you can do to improve your navigation and maximize SEO value.

Site Navigation Optimization Best Practices to Maximize SEO Value


Think about strategic placement.

Where you place your navigation area on a page is crucial. Experts recommend that you use (1) a top navigation under the header, (2) a left navigation as a vertical column, or (3) a combination of both, where the top area is for primary navigation and the left side is for secondary navigation. If you have several sub-categories, it may be smarter to position your major navigation on the left. Most e-commerce websites follow the left-hand placement to allow their customers to browse sub-categories more efficiently and to avoid a cluttered look. A good example of this is Amazon, which gradually migrated its navigation to the left due to its constantly expanding categories.

Be mindful of the number of elements that are present in your navigation.

Visitors may be overwhelmed when there are too many possible categories and choices on your website. To ensure an effective navigation scheme, present only the crucial categories that are likely to appeal to most of your visitors. Menus like ‘Help’ and ‘Contact Us’ are best placed on the top right-hand corner of a page instead of under the main navigation menus.

If you can, limit the number of items on the main navigation and sub menus to seven items, which is the average number of elements humans can remember and process at the same time, according to studies. Go beyond that and you could be at risk of overwhelming your visitors.

Use drop-down menus.

Most website visitors tend to be finicky and would rather explore websites that do not require them to click on a lot of items. Provide drop-down menus that can help them navigate the categories and their respective sub-categories with ease.

Use easy words.

Avoid technical speak, jargons, and other words that are not intuitive. You want your average visitor to understand you right away. Consider dumbing down the words or replacing them with common synonyms whenever possible. Test alternatives to determine which version of the word can get more attention and clicks.

Use expanding sub-menus for left navigation.

Consider an expanding tree-like left side navigation menu to appear less cluttered and to avoid overwhelming visitors with numerous choices. It may help visitors understand how services and products are organized, too.

Have a “You are here” function.

You can do this by using a different color for a tab or menu to highlight where a visitor currently is in the navigation. This could help visitors when they have reached the deepest areas of your site or if they found your page through a search engine.

Make your logo the door to your homepage.

Every page should have a logo that can be clicked and lead the visitor to your homepage.

Create a site map.

The site map must be well-organized and accessible through a link on your website’s footer. It must break down every section and list the pages that are under each one. Alternatively, you may show the sub-sections if you have an ecommerce site or a very deep website structure.

Use the breadcrumb tactic.

This function can be offered in your main content area’s top left portion. The breadcrumb function depicts the parent sections of the page where someone is currently on, so the visitor can understand where they. This can be beneficial when somebody accesses your page from a search engine.

Check for broken links.

These links could hurt your site and affect your link credibility. Google doesn’t like broken links as it makes for poor user experience, so be sure to remove them as necessary or fix them for your users.
SEOValley applies all the best practices to improve your site navigation and optimize your website for maximum SEO value. Get in touch with us for a free SEO analysis, which will be conducted by our seasoned and innovative optimization experts.




Guide to Content Optimization for Ecommerce Sites

Posted By SEOValley on : May 12th, 2016

Successful ecommerce businesses share one characteristic: their sites rank higher than their competitors in Google’s organic search results. Higher rankings is especially crucial for an online business that needs to attract, convert, retain, and please its customers. However, boosting your rank can be extremely challenging unless you have a good strategy that addresses the unique needs and demands of an ecommerce business.

Guide to Content Optimization for Ecommerce Sites


Preparing Your Ecommerce Website for Optimization

Content optimization for ecommerce sites involves a lot of preparation: analyzing the data, researching the competitors and keywords, and making changes according to your findings. Be sure to focus on the following tasks before doing any actual optimization: 

  • SEO audit – You can identify problems with your current SEO through a comprehensive audit of your ecommerce site. Pay attention to product pages because (1) mistakes are more likely to occur in them, and (2) they are the most crucial pages impacting the overall performance of your website. There are tools you can use to crawl through images, links, script, apps, and CSS, so you can find errors, redirects, duplicate content, missing tags, and other issues that may be affecting the SEO of your website.
  • Look up your competitors – Perform a thorough competitor analysis. Who are the other ecommerce websites outranking you right now? Review their websites to get a list of keywords they are likely to be using. From there, look up the keywords and determine the ones you can compete against. Determine the sources of your competitor’s inbound links and try getting in touch with those sites, too. Consider reviewing the structure of their ecommerce sites and pay attention to their product pages. This way will give you ideas on organizing your own navigation.
  • Research keywords – Keyword research is essential because it lets you find the right words and phrases to use strategically on each product page in order to attract highly targeted customers and increase conversion. When researching keywords, always measure their relevance, ranking difficulty, and search volume. Consider long-tail keywords that are highly relevant to what you offer.

Tips for Improving Your Product Pages

After doing everything mentioned above, you can start implementing SEO strategies to optimize your product pages and help your site rank higher in Google. For this, consider the following: 

  • Product descriptions must be unique – Avoid using the product descriptions of manufacturers because search engines may treat them as duplicate content—and this can cause your website to be penalized. Write your own unique and compelling descriptions to appease Google and entice customers.
  • Give importance to customer reviews – Did you know that adding customer reviews to product pages can help you convert up to 58% more visitors and boost your revenue by up to 62%? Reviews help establish credibility while offering social proof to buyers who may be interested in the product. Remember that Google recognizes pages that are constantly updated with unique and fresh content—and that is what reviews can do for your product pages.
  • Add social media on each product page – The quality and amount of social media signals on a product page can influence your Google ranking. This is because those signals indicate the page’s relevance and authority. Consider adding share buttons for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, and LinkedIn. That way, customers will have an easier way to share your products and information with their friends and followers.
  • Improve your navigation – Make it intuitive by organizing product pages into categories that are easy to follow, search, and understand.
  • Do not remove pages of products that are out-of-stock – Keep them live but mark them as ‘currently unavailable.’ Their pages may have already garnered good rankings over time, so don’t waste them. Keep them on your website and use them as marketing tools. Consider promoting a similar product alongside them, or informing visitors when they will be available again. You can even put a backorder button.
  • Make your ecommerce site available for mobile devices – More customers are using their smartphones and tablets to shop online, so make sure your ecommerce site is optimized for mobile browsing, too. 

Optimizing an ecommerce site will be easier when you have professionals handling the job. Turn to the experts of SEOValley for search engine optimization, conversion optimization, and ecommerce website development needs. Our team is composed of experienced individuals, innovative thinkers, and SEO strategists who can help boost your online presence.


Grow Your Business to the Next Level by Outsourcing SEO

Posted By SEOValley on : May 3rd, 2016

Every business will have three options for marketing: collaborate, outsource, or do it in the house. Your choice will depend on the type of marketing activity you intend to do and the amount of internal resources your company currently has. Social media marketing for direct engagement and authenticity is better done in-house, but it’s best to bring in outsider experts when launching a search engine optimization campaign. Outsourcing SEO can be one of the best things you can do to grow your business.

grow your business to the next level by outsourcing seo
SEO Can Be Complex 

The complexity of SEO makes it challenging and daunting to do on your own. It constantly (and sometimes dramatically) evolves due to search engines changing their algorithms to improve the way they deliver targeted and organic results. One of the latest updates to Google’s algorithms, for instance, focuses on mobile-friendly websites. Keeping track of these updates by yourself can become overwhelming, especially if you lack the technical know-how and if you are not completely involved in the world of SEO. In most cases, it will be better for you to focus your attention on your business than worry about SEO matters that you could leave to experts. For this reason, outsourcing SEO is a good way to grow your business with help from of search engine optimization professionals. 

Outsourcing Your SEO is Better Than Doing It Yourself 

Executing an SEO campaign using outdated methods can be downright harmful to the long-term health of your website. When you work with SEO experts, you can be sure that they are always up to date with the latest methods in optimization. SEO involves many on-site and off-site optimization activities that encompass technical and creative aspects. To ensure an effective campaign, you need to outsource your SEO to a company that can do everything for you. Reputable companies already have their own strategists, technical specialists, editors, copywriters, researchers, web designers, and web designers so you do not have to worry about hiring your own team of SEO specialists. 

Great for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses 

Outsourcing SEO makes sense to small and medium-sized businesses that may lack the manpower and budget to hire and maintain their own team of search engine optimization professionals.  As long as you work with the right SEO company, you can save a lot of time and money in the long run. Keep in mind that SEO takes certain knowledge and skills that are acquired and honed over time. In-house training will take too much of your resources when you could be using them to run your business and do other important tasks. When you outsource SEO, your search engine optimization program can start right away—and you can rest assured that it will be done correctly. 

SEO can be scaled to a long-term or a short-term campaign, and experts can do that in a snap while making sure that it is professionally managed. Analytics, testing, and tracking are crucial to any campaign, and when you outsource SEO, you do not have to do all these time-consuming activities by yourself. Outsourcing this work will make you more confident in the results because it eliminates the guesswork associated with all the tasks related to optimization. 

Hire an Expert Who Lives and Breathes SEO 

By outsourcing SEO, you are preparing your business for a long-term online marketing campaign while making sure that qualified professionals are the ones taking care of it. An SEO company can focus on your campaign and provide quick solutions to keep it flexible and capable of keeping up with the changes in search engine algorithms. When you have a well-managed SEO program, you can improve tracking, analytics, and testing to enhance keyword focus and discover new keywords. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Outsource SEO 

Some businesses who have tried outsourcing their search engine optimization campaign and have failed in their efforts may think twice about working with another SEO company as their business grows.  SEO jargon could also be intimidating to those who lack the technical know-how. But as long as you choose the most experienced and reputable SEO company, you should be able to avoid all these setbacks. Take SEOValley, for instance. We are one of the most experienced search engine optimization specialists known for our robust and results-oriented SEO process. We have helped over 5,000 websites successfully increase their visibility on search engines worldwide.


Dominate Search Results with Multi-Location Local SEO

Posted By SEOValley on : May 3rd, 2016

Do you have a large brand with multiple locations or branches? Are you finding it difficult to streamline your online marketing campaigns? Perhaps it’s time you looked at multi-location local SEO—a powerful strategy that can allow you to dominate the search results and expand the reach of your local SEO campaign. This type of local SEO considers every location individually. It does not use a one-size-fits-all marketing formula, but instead treats every market differently. This makes it easier to understand how each location is performing and determine markets that are having problems with traffic and rankings.

Pushpin marking location on map

Local SEO 101


In understanding how multi-location local SEO works, you must first know what local SEO is and why it matters. Local SEO optimizes your website for the local search results in search engines. When used correctly, it can make you stand out and allow potential customers in your locality to find you. Local SEO is important because of three reasons.


First, search engines like Google look at a user’s location data when providing search results. If someone keys in the words ‘Italian restaurant’ in the search bar, for example, Google determines that user’s location and shows him or her Italian restaurants nearby. Secondly, people tend to input regions, states, and cities when looking up businesses online. For example, someone will likely key in ‘barbershop in NYC’ when searching for a place to get a haircut. Lastly, consumers tend to trust businesses with a local presence. Hence, if you operate in several cities or states, you need to have a multi-location local SEO campaign in place.


Strategies for Successful Multi-Location Local SEO


When working on multi-location local SEO campaign, you need to (1) Create Google+ Local page for each location (2) build location specific landing pages on the site, (3) create keyword-themed content pages, (4) consider microformatting, and (5) build citations and reviews. Here is an overview of each strategy:


(1) Google+ Local Pages

Create a Google+ Local page for each location and treat each of them like an individualized SEO campaign. When creating a Google+ local page, make sure that it contains the following information, correctly:


* Your business name

* Contact information, including ZIP code & phone number

* Business hours

* Primary Category and supporting categories

* Business description


(2) Location Based Landing Pages

Create a location based landing page, preferably for each address, and perform comprehensive SEO on-page optimization of each of them. Additional to standard SEO methods, make sure that such pages contain the following:


* Contact details exactly as they look on your Google+ local page for the particular location.
* An embedded Google map
* A KML file
* Trust logos
* Nearby zip codes and cities
* Location-themed content with semantic language for fully targeted keywords


(3) Keyword -Themed Pages
Create keyword-themed content pages for each service or product you offer. You can get started with basic keyword research using the Google Keyword Planner tool to find out which keywords are typically used by people to search for information regarding the services you provide. This can give you an insight on the opportunities you might have missed. Once you have identified the best keywords, build pivot tables to see which competitors are using them, too. After securing a keyword list, you can start writing content using those keywords.


(4) Microformatting

A microformat can add additional meaning to your web page beyond what typical HTML paragraphs and headings could provide. With microformatting, you can represent address, reviews, events, etc., on every location web page. This is crucial to make sure that search engines can interpret your information as intended, and is especially crucial for presenting the business information such as “Business Name”, “Address”, and “Phone Number” in the correct format.


(5) Reviews and Citations
Often, in the case of multi-local local SEO, it’s preferred to build citations with individual location page URLs instead of using your homepage or root domain. Additionally, don’t forget to link to your social media profiles from each citation, use videos, offer coupons and discounts when possible, and post photos of the products/services you offer.

Business reviews will boost your organic ranking and the traction of your citations in search results pages, especially if they are in Yelp and Google+ Business Pages. One good way to get reviews is to make a survey with three to four questions and send them to your clients with a link to the profile where you want them to write their feedback about you.


Get Help from the Experts


More than a decade of experience and extensive website valuation expertise makes SEOValley qualified to assist you in your multi-location local SEO campaign. Let us help you improve your search rankings for higher profitability and more leads.


5 Fatal SEO Misconceptions That Still Exist in 2016

Posted By SEOValley on : April 29th, 2016

Many business owners make the mistake of ignoring SEO and putting all their eggs in social media promotions. They are looking for a quicker way to boost traffic, increase ROI, and enhance conversion rates without much regard for long-term viability.
5 fatal seo misconceptions that still exist in 2016

What they don’t realize is that even though pad adds and social media marketing can offer quick traffic generation, SEO is still the backbone of an enduring online presence. Search engine optimization is more beneficial to entrepreneurs now more than ever, but there are misconceptions that prevent even the most discerning business owners from getting started on an SEO campaign. Here are five fatal misconceptions about SEO that still persist to this day:

1. SEO is pointless.

Are you aware that 44 percent of your customers are likely to use a search engine when they are looking for your product or service? Search ranks fourth in top internet activities in the US, too. Hence, it still makes sense to have an SEO program that can contribute to your traffic conversion efforts. SEO may not seem to work because it takes a bit of time before actual results can be seen, but once it does, you can count on it to optimize your site for the long haul.

Here’s a fact: SEO traffic converts. People who find your website through Google and other search engines are more likely to become actual paying customers. A report reveals that 57 percent of B2B marketers found SEO to be the most crucial factor when generating leads. Another report reveals that searches generate leads that are eight times more likely to convert compared to outbound leads. Moreover, research shows that users are likely to ignore paid ad listings and prefer organic results instead.

2. A brick and mortar business does not need SEO.

If you think that running a business the traditional way eliminates your need for SEO, think again. Most consumers turn to online reviews before they even visit your establishment. Without SEO, you could be losing your chance to show what you can offer to someone who is looking for your products and services online.

According to a report, 86 percent of Americans used the internet everyday last year, and that 93 percent of their online experiences started with a search engine. Even if you think that only a small percentage of those users would be interested in your business, that number can already make a huge difference in your overall sales. You could miss out on an opportunity to gain new customers and grow your business without proper online promotion. Worse, your competition could be getting all those new customers.

3. SEO is expensive.

Search engine optimization is a job that must be left to the experts because it encompasses many complex activities, such as (1) researching market and sales trends and your industry, (2) conducting competitive research, (3) optimizing the site, (4) finding keyword terms that can deliver high traffic, (5) link building, and (6) monitoring the results of the SEO campaign. Every activity will demand a lot of your time and effort—and omitting one or more processes will result in an unsuccessful campaign. Hence, it makes sense to hire a seasoned SEO company who can do all these things for you so you can focus on running your business.

While you need to pay for an SEO expert to do these tasks, remember that high-quality SEO brings in sales for the long-term, so it will continue to positively impact your bottom line even after you have ended your contact with the SEO company. When you think about it, SEO is more cost-effective in the long run compared to pay-per-click and paid online advertising campaigns.

4. Keyword stuffing and buying links will boost SEO

Gone are the days when you can fool search engines. Google’s algorithms have made search smarter than it has ever been. Hence, if you buy links, Google will eventually find out—and your strategy can backfire. Remember that search engines are continuously improving and becoming more sophisticated, so anyone practicing black hat SEO techniques like buying links should beware.

Keyword stuffing is another no-no. It occurs when the same post repeats the same keyword far too many times in a poor attempt to rank better for that keyword. The problem with this is that it makes your content look unnatural and annoying, so readers are likely to ignore it. Google pays attention to keyword density, and if it finds your content to be unnatural, unreadable, and stuffed with keywords, it may penalize you.

5. SEO simply takes too long. PPC is better.

There is no denying that PPC does provide instant results. It can direct more visitors to your website as soon as your PPC campaign goes live. However, keep in mind that PPC can be expensive in the long run because you have to keep paying each time someone clicks your advertisement. Your cost-per-click may also increase due to the bidding system—if you want to keep your ads on top, you need to outbid your competitors.

SEO is not only cheaper than PPC but also much more credible. The average consumer is more likely to click on an organic ad than a paid listing. SEO brings in organic results that will not require you to continuously pay for anything, so you essentially get free traffic.

Our experts at SEOValley can help you realize the benefits of SEO to your business through our experience, skill, and expertise. We have been optimizing websites for search engines since 2001, making us one of the most seasoned companies that can actually deliver the results you want.


5 Site Re-Design Tactics to Avoid Losing SEO Value

Posted By SEOValley on : April 17th, 2016

Keeping your site updated is one of the things you must never forget or take for granted. Having the right SEO strategy and a high ranking in search results is pointless without an attractive and usable website. In fact, your website loses points in terms of usability and attractiveness if it is not mobile-friendly, does not load properly on different browsers, and is outdated. If your site has been sporting the same look and feel for many years now, then it is time to have it redesigned.


Are you thinking of having your website redesigned? Make sure that the new design does not compromise its existing SEO. This is especially important if you have invested a lot of time and money in an effective SEO campaign. Take a look at these five site redesign tactics that can help you execute a new website design without losing SEO value. 

Redesign tactic #1: Rethink your SEO tactics. 

This is the perfect time to examine and evaluate your existing SEO strategy and determine (1) which landing pages and keywords have the highest value and (2) which ones are not delivering the best results. This allows you to prioritize the best pages when you redesign your website. 

During this process, you may come across well-ranking keywords that somehow perform badly at generating traffic. Consider removing these keywords from your SEO campaign after the redesign. This can be a good opportunity to refine other good keywords that actually deliver high-quality traffic to your website. During evaluation, you may find that some landing pages are unable to keep visitors, failing to convert them into sales or leads. This is the perfect chance to address issues concerning conversion and page level engagement issues. Evaluating your SEO and addressing site issues can help you come up with a better SEO campaign after redesigning your website. 

Redesign tactic #2: Retain existing URL structure or implement 301 redirects 

Retaining the same URL structure is ideal when redesigning your site, but it will not always be practical if:

(1) You are moving to a new platform that requires a completely different URL structure

(2) You reorganized your content, causing some changes to the structure of the URL

If you absolutely need to change URL structure, consider implementing a page level 301 redirect. This will redirect your former URL to your new one, essentially letting you keep your rankings as search engines are ‘guided’ from the old URL to the new one. A 301 redirect can preserve internal and inbound links, both of which are crucial for retaining search engine rankings. 

Maintaining a positive user experience is as important as maintaining good rankings. By preserving internal links and inbound links, 301 redirects will prevent your visitors from seeing the ‘404 Not Found’ error message when they access your website through an inbound or internal ink that points to a non-existent URL. 

Redesign tactic #3: Retain your on-page optimization. 

Start by making sure that the keywords you changed are already in their appropriate pages. From there, you can review each description tag and title and make sure that they are unique for every page. Include the target keyword or keywords for that page and describe the content they are related to. 

Remember to review the URLs of the site and make sure that they are optimized for every page, too. Likewise, see if there are any broken internal links and review anchor text to guarantee that it is consistent with keyword changes. 

Redesign tactic #4: Create XML and HTML sitemaps. 

HTML and XML sitemaps enable search engines to find new content and discover existing content that may have transferred to new URLs. HTML sitemaps can be useful for visitors because they serve as guides to discovering existing and new content. Once you have created an XML sitemap, make sure that it is submitted to major search engines to allow the crawling of moved and new content to commence. This tactic—when used with page level 301 redirect—will guarantee efficient indexing and crawling of moved or new content. 

Redesign tactic #5: Monitor, measure, and improve. 

When your redesigned website goes live, always monitor your traffic data and rankings to determine if they are improving or getting worse and if they are increasing or decreasing. Likewise, determine if visitor engagement has increased or decreased with your site’s content and if they are converting at a lower or higher rate. 

Remember that a site redesign is not over after launching your new and improved site. The results must continuously be monitored, measured, and enhanced over time. 

SEOValley understands that redesigning your website can be challenging and take a lot of time, so we recommend leaving that to us. Our web designers possess the skills, creativity, and experience in web design and development, so you can trust their expertise in designing your website according to your requirements. SEOValley will deliver your project on budget and on time while maintaining your site’s SEO value.


3 Local SEO Activities That Will Bring Immediate Results

Posted By SEOValley on : April 12th, 2016

Local SEO is an important tool for increasing the visibility of a brick and mortar business in local search results. It aims to optimize your website to make it gain higher search rankings locally and to make it easier for your local customers to find your business.


Like traditional SEO, local optimization is a long-term campaign that can take some time before revealing significant results. That said, there are certain things that you can do to realize improvements in search rankings almost immediately.  Here are three major local SEO activities that can help bring instant results: 

Activity 1: Claim your Google My Business listing and optimize it.

Claim and verify your local business listing on Google’s My Business to get a head start on improving your search rankings. My Business is the side of Google+ that is aimed at businesses, and it delivers a strong and foolproof signal to Google that your website is worthy of being ranked. It’s a simple and effective way to improve local search visibility. Google itself revealed that four out of five consumers rely on search engines to find local businesses and information, making Google My Business listing crucial if you want to boost your rankings and ensure that your target audience can easily find you online.

Local SEO has dramatically changed since Google launched Pigeon, the search engine’s premiere local algorithm. Through Pigeon, Google is able to see through the local intent of a user’s queries, resulting in more targeted search results. Hence, if you search for a simple term like ‘restaurant’, Google will automatically display restaurants that are near you. The complexity of this new algorithm has imposed a new challenge to local SEO professionals and to small and medium-sized local businesses alike. But as long as you implement a good local SEO strategy and claim and optimize your Google My Business listing, you can increase the visibility of your business and rank better in search results. 

Activity 2: Get listed in Yahoo and Bing. 

Most searches take place on Google, but it is always a good idea to claim and optimize your listings on other commonly used search engines, such as Yahoo and Bing, too. This will ensure greater visibility no matter which search engine your target customers prefer. Getting listed in Bing or Yahoo increases your visibility and delivers your phone number, address, website, hours of operation, photos of your business, and a list of your services to your potential customers. All of these factors will be crucial in strengthening your local visibility in these search engines, too. 

Claiming your company profiles in these websites can boost your visibility on local search listings. These websites can direct people to your door. Just be sure that you provide the right information. Encourage existing customers to leave a review on these sites to further boost your visibility. 

Activity 3: Be present in social media. 

Having a Facebook page and Yelp profile can boost your local SEO campaign and give you immediate results. These sites can improve your visibility in branded and local searches. Creating a page is free, fast, and easy. Once it is up and running, it can help potential customers find you easily and provide additional opportunities for you to expand the reach of your local business. 

Social signs are important for page ranking. Each time someone shares, likes, or follows your posts, it delivers a social signal to a search engine that your page is credible and deserves a higher ranking. Interacting with your followers and customers in your social media pages will help boost your credibility to potential customers, too. 

Local SEO is Best Left to the Experts 

You do not have to do all of these strategies yourself because let’s face it—between running your day to day operations and keeping your business profitable, you really don’t have much time left. It’s more prudent to hire experienced and reputable search engine optimization experts. This way, you can save a lot of time and effort so you can focus more on your core business. With help from experts like SEOValley, you can generate better traffic, establish your brand’s recognition and authority, increase conversions, and achieve higher ROI. 

Local SEO is one of our specialties at SEOValley. Our local search engine optimization program covers Google local optimization, reviews acquisition strategy, and citation building. With our help, you can stay ahead of your competition and win in your niche.


How to Roll-Out an Effective Site Migration Strategy

Posted By SEOValley on : April 8th, 2016

Will migrating your website affect your search engine rankings? Here’s the short answer: It depends. The implementation of the new domain must be handled skillfully, or the results can be catastrophic.

Effective Site Migration Strategy

The most prudent thing to do when contemplating a migration is to hire a professional SEO company to handle the process for you. This is especially important if your website drives a significant part of your revenue or serves as your main communication channel in reaching out to customers. Migrating a website is a difficult process, best left in the hands of real experts.

If you have already tried migrating your website and failed, don’t worry—it’s not hopeless. Contact site migration experts to diagnose the situation and salvage your rankings. Below are just some of the most important moves these experts use when migrating a site or righting a migration strategy gone wrong:


Proper Preparation

When it comes to site migration, planning is indeed half the battle. A good strategy will integrate the following pre-migration preparations:

  1. Baseline Metrics – Document your site’s current performance so that you have numbers to use when assessing whether your migration strategy was successful.  Document the top search rankings and traffic sources, traffic Levels, current backlink profile, and other such data. Having this information ready prior to migration will later allow you to compare current and post-launch performance and gauge impact.
  2. Keywords Strategy – This is a critical part of migration planning that is often overlooked. The strategy should cover page titles and keyword targeting, as well as outline your internal link plan.
  3. 301 Redirection Map – A 301 redirection strategy is crucial if your URL structure will drastically change. You will need to list the general URL construction patterns at varying levels of the new website’s content hierarchy. With a clear 301 redirection map, it is easier to construct pattern-matched based redirects, and therefore, catch dreaded 404 errors.
  4. Content Mapping – When possible, build a ‘map’ showing the old URLs and the corresponding destination URLs.

Proper Implementation

During the actual migration, following factors have to be carefully implemented:

  1. Navigation Optimization – Changes to navigation can typically cause large fluctuations in ranking because internal navigation links are crucial to ranking algorithms. Experts can ensure that the links in the new navigation template point to the same content as the old ones did.
  2. Titles and Meta Data Optimization – The same holds true for your page titles as well as META data. Migration experts can ensure that old titles and META descriptions are transferred to the new pages.
  3. Site-Wide Review – A good migration strategy will include provisions for fixing any indexing or technical problems, such as URL structures that cause duplicate content. A spider simulator may be used to ensure that all the new website’s content and page templates are visible to search engines.
  4. Redirect Strategy – You need someone who is technically skilled in coding the content map into your server’s redirect mechanism. Trust only qualified professionals to code your redirects and ensure that all redirects are 301 permanent (not 302 temporary).

Proper Post-Migration

  1. Updated Sitemap – This needs to be submitted to Google Webmaster. The ‘change of address’ function must be used if you are moving to a new domain. Old URLs must be kept in your XML sitemap, as Google needs to crawl those links when processing the changes in their index.
  2. Ongoing Quality Assurance – Site migration experts will never assume that everything has been executed correctly. They will continue to use http header check functions to validate that old URLs are in fact redirecting using 301 redirects. When everything is routing correctly, they monitor all baseline metrics to ensure that the process has been smoothly completed.

Migration—when done right—can have positive impacts. It can improve search rankings, link connectivity, and user experience. The key is to give search engines clear instructions of where to find your content as it moves; otherwise, they will have no way of migrating link metrics pointing to your original URL to your new one.

Link metrics are important in search rankings, so without a solid SEO migration plan, you can lose rankings and traffic. You will also frustrate people who have previously bookmarked your pages.  Be sure to hire experts in site migration at SEOValley for optimum results.


5 Competitive Analysis Tactics to Advance Your SEO Strategy

Posted By SEOValley on : March 25th, 2016

One of the most important elements in the SEO process is ‘competitive analysis’—that is, looking into what your direct competitors are doing and devising strategies to beat them. Competitive analysis can be extremely complex because there are multiple factors to consider. But even though it takes a lot of time and resources up front, it will save you a lot of money and effort in the long run.

Competition Analysis Tactics


Tactic #1: Be Smart with Keyword Research

The key is to identify keywords that you can realistically rank for. Let’s say you sell jewelry online. If you are a small business without the budget or the brand authority to compete with giants like Tiffany.com, then ranking for the high competition keyword ‘jewelry’ is practically impossible. What you can do instead if find your niche and seek out related keywords and phrases that you can win. To grow your keyword list, you can:

  • Type your competitors into SEMrush to check the keywords they are ranking for
  • Use Spyfu to see what keywords your competitors are bidding for
  • Use Keyword Planner to generate lists of possible keywords related to your primary terms

With comprehensive competitive analysis, you should be able to determine ‘low competition’ keywords that fewer companies are targeting in your niche. Ranking for these low volume keywords can jumpstart your SEO campaign and eventually cause your traffic to grow exponentially as you build authority and trust. Soon enough, you’ll start ranking for high volume competitive keywords down the line without having to make major new investments.

Tactic #2: Know Who Your Competitors Are

Once you have generated a keyword list, type them into Google and take note of which websites show up in the top results. Do you see the same websites again and again? Those are your top competitors. SEMrush is an excellent tool that allows you to determine their top organic keywords and traffic.

Be sure to find your true competitors. Putting your small online jewelry store up against a giant jewelry retailer does not make sense and will skew your metrics. Instead, find out what like-businesses are ranking for long tail terms you want to target.

Tactic #3: Analyze Your Enemy

You have identified your competitors, and it’s now time to dive deep into their profiles. Start by taking note of their general metrics:

  • Link Velocity
  • Inbound Links
  • Domain Authority
  • Domain Age
  • Social Shares

These numbers will give you a more comprehensive understanding of who you are going up against. Start downloading their backlink profile to get an idea of how many links you’ll need for your site. You can also analyze your rival’s topical authority and semantic link profile to get even deeper into their strategies.

Based on the averages of the websites you analyzed, how many inbound links do you need to acquire? How many links do you need based on each topical category? How many of these links should have higher domain rank (at least 80)? Set your targets so you can design a backlink acquisition strategy.

Tactic #4: Audit Your Competition’s Social Media and Content

The next step is to look at your competitor’s social media and content marketing strategy. Ask questions like the following:

  • How often do they post or share social media updates?
  • How many followers have they managed to get?
  • How many of those followers are active and engaged?

Look at their Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter accounts, as well as their blogs. By doing this, you can determine the level of social media activity you need to achieve to be in the same footing.

Tactic #5: Determine Your Strategy and any Barriers to Entry

Now that you have a clear understanding of who your competitors are and what they do, you can build your strategy based on the information you have uncovered.

Done correctly, competitive analysis can help you strategically identify what SEO targets to aim at and provide fundamental insight for your overall strategy. This intelligence will form the backbone of your SEO approach and create your campaign’s structure. A great SEO company like SEOValley has all the tools and technologies needed to fully examine what your competitors are doing. Arming yourself with data will help you become more efficient with your SEO investments and realize a higher return.