Connect with us


SEO for Multiple Locations (Beginner’s Guide)



SEO for Multiple Locations (Beginner's Guide)

To attract customers from certain geographic locations with organic search, you’ll need to start implementing SEO for multiple locations. But how exactly can you do this?

Let’s get started.

Multiple location SEO (MLS) is the process of optimizing your business’s organic search presence for multiple geographic locations. It may sound complicated, but it’s similar to regular SEO, with a few additions.

MLS is particularly important for businesses like restaurants, service-based businesses, or retail chains that have multiple stores with their own established presence. 

The benefits are that it enables your business to reach a larger audience—both in the online world and the offline world. 

So how do you get started? 

In Google, there are two primary ways to appear for geographic-based searches, either as part of the regular organic results or the map pack (also known as the local pack).

Infographic of map pack and regular organic results on Google SERP

Let’s take a look at how to optimize for these for multiple locations.

How to appear in the localized organic results

The first thing I look at is the website’s structure. 

If you have multiple physical locations, it’s a good idea to set up location-specific landing pages. But only if there is search demand for these pages and only if you have a physical location in those places.

But how can you work out what the search demand is? Simple—you can use Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer.

Let’s say you own a dog walking business in the U.S. and you want to optimize it for the physical locations in New York City and Chicago. How do you do it?

If we open Keywords Explorer, plug in “dog walking services,” and head to the Matching terms report, we can see Chicago is a key location without even looking at the keyword list.

Matching terms report for "dog walking services," via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Let’s dive into the keywords a bit more and look at all the popular locations for dog walking services.

List of dog walking locations with highlights, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

From the above list, we can see that these are the most searched for areas for dog walking services:

  • Chicago
  • Reston
  • NYC
  • Boston
  • Minneapolis 

Using this newly acquired knowledge, we can set up landing pages for our Chicago and NYC stores as a priority, knowing that there is search demand for these particular locations.

When setting up your new landing pages, it’s a good idea to start with the URLs. 

They should look something like this: 



If you see a location appear in Keywords Explorer in short form, e.g., “NYC” instead of “New York City,” it’s usually best to go with the most searched for version.

See also  Google Launches AI-Powered Contextual Translations

Once we have set up these pages, we can populate them with all the important information about that particular location. 

The important details to include are what’s known as your “NAP”—the name, address, and phone number of that business’s location.

Once you have added this, you can build out the location landing page(s) with further details of the business. This will help build trust with your customers.

It’s a good idea to put yourself in the shoes of your customers when doing this and think about what information they would be interested in.

If we take a look at one of the landing pages in the SERPs for “reston va dog walking,” we can see that it’s reasonably well optimized.

Reston VA Dog Walking landing page, via Paw Pals

It includes helpful information for customers, such as: 

  • The opening hours.
  • Certifications and awards it has won and associations it is part of.
  • Holiday schedule and pricing details.
  • Google rating widget.
  • Other areas served” list.
  • Contact form. 
  • Google map embed.

The NAP details are at the bottom of the page, with a contact form and phone number in the top right-hand corner.

NAP and opening hours example, via Paw Pals

Although these elements are for a dog walking site, you can see that these simple elements are reproducible for many businesses. 

The only extra information I would have added to this landing page is more detail about the staff providing the services.

With a quick check of this page using the Rich Results Test, I can see that it doesn’t have any location schema markup.

Schema is a further addition that you can make to your multiple-location landing pages. 

Without going into too much technical detail, I recommend checking out this guide that shows you how to optimize for multiple locations using schema.

Once you are done, it should look something like this in the Rich Results Test:

Multiple locations schema example, via Google Rich Results Test

How to appear in the local pack

Once you have set up your location-based landing page(s), it’s time to consider the other elements of your online presence, such as how to appear in the local pack results.

For location-based searches, Google typically shows the local pack at the top of the page ahead of the organic results.

If we search for the phrase “brewdog manchester”—(a popular craft beer brand + a city in the U.K.), we can see the local pack above the organic results.

Local pack example, via

If we search for the same keyword phrase on Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer, the SERP overview shows us the details of the local pack and breaks out the same results in an easier-to-scan format.

See also  WordPress Anti-Spam Plugin Vulnerability Affects Up To 60,000+ Sites
Local pack highlight in SERP overview, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Setting up a Google Business Profile is the key to appearing in the local pack results. 

To do this, head over here to get started.

Google Business start page, via Google Business Profile

Once you have set up your main location and it’s verified, you’ll need to set up your other locations.

To do this, click on Add business in your Google Business Profile:

Google Business Profile; adding multiple locations example, via Google Business Profile

Then click on Add single business.

Adding a single business, via Google Business Profile

When you have filled out all of the relevant information for your different locations, you will have created your Google Business Profile. The business locations should start to show in the local pack once Google has verified your profile and the other locations.

If you have more than 10 locations to add, you can bulk import them by clicking on the Import businesses button instead.

You’ll then be prompted to download a template. Once you have downloaded and filled in the information, it will look something like this: 

Sample data CSV bulk upload

After you’ve filled everything out, it’s just a question of uploading the file by selecting Select file and then requesting bulk verification.

"Select file" option, via Google Business Profile

Once you have completed these steps, you can manage your multiple businesses through your Google Business Profile.

The optimization doesn’t stop once the above is done—in fact, you have only just started.

It’s an ongoing process of maintaining and optimizing your profile similarly to how you would optimize your website.

If you have fewer than 10 locations and didn’t do the bulk upload, you’ll first need to double-check that you have filled out all of the Google Business Profile information for your locations.

This means you should have checked the following:

The more information you give Google, the better your chances of ranking higher in the local pack.

If you haven’t already, you will need to add high-quality photos of your business. You can do this by logging into Google Business Profile and then returning to the search results. 

At the top of the SERP, Google will show a mini dashboard where you can update and manage your business profile. To update your photos, click on Add photo.

SERP dashboard for Google Business Profile

You can add three types of photos: Logos, Cover Photos, or Business Photos. These are the requirements for the photos:

  • Format: JPG or PNG
  • Suggested size: Between 10 KB and 5 MB
  • Recommended resolution: 720 px tall, 720 px wide
  • Minimum resolution: 250 px tall, 250 px wide
  • Quality: Photo should be in focus, well-lit, and have no significant alterations or excessive use of filters
See also  17 Types Of Content Marketing You Can Use


Include interior shots of your business. And if you are a restaurant owner, it’s a good idea to include photos of your menu.

Updating your Google Business Profile is crucial for customers around holiday dates. 

Google is so concerned with the accuracy of its results it will occasionally phone you to confirm your business opening hours during these periods. 

I contacted Google to confirm whether this is still part of its checks, and it confirmed that it was.

Now that you have successfully added your locations, you can start to measure your performance.

You can do this by returning to the search results and clicking the Performance icon.

SERP dashboard with "Performance" icon highlighted, via Google Business Profile

Once you have done this, it will take you to an overview screen. 

You can click through the tabs to look at:

  • Calls
  • Messages
  • Bookings
  • Directions
  • Website clicks
Performance page and analytics, via Google Business Profile

From this screen, you can get an understanding of how your business is performing locally.

If you want to monitor the performance of your local landing pages, you can do this in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer.

Let’s go back to the BrewDog example and imagine that we wanted to know the traffic performance of its top bars in the U.S.

To do this, we can plug BrewDog’s website in the Top pages report and then add a URL filter that contains “/bars/usa/” like so:

URL filter for USA bars, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

This will enable us to filter the top-performing landing pages by Traffic.

Top U.S. BrewDog bars by organic traffic, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

From this, we can see that Cleveland is the top location in terms of organic traffic.

Using Site Explorer, we can look at all the key metrics for our location pages, such as:

  • Traffic.
  • Position.
  • Top keyword.
  • Number of ranking keywords the page has.
  • Estimate the value of the location page’s organic traffic.

Lastly, if you want to track positions, you can use a keyword tracking tool like Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker

Here’s an example of me entering a ZIP code to track in the U.S.: 

ZIP code selector example, via Ahrefs' Rank Tracker

Rank Tracker can track keyword rankings on a country, state, city, or ZIP code basis.

Final thoughts

Having an online presence for multiple locations is essential if your business relies on customers from specific areas.

Maintaining the profiles and landing pages can be a challenge, though. Optimizing for multiple locations takes time. But if you put in the effort now, you’ll benefit from it in the long run.

Got more questions? Ping me on Twitter. 🙂

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address


What Are SEO Benchmarks, & Which Ones Actually Matter?



What Are SEO Benchmarks, & Which Ones Actually Matter?

To set goals and track and measure your performance in any campaign, you will need key performance indicators (KPIs) and benchmarks.

But with so many KPIs, knowing exactly which ones you should be benchmarking can be challenging. In this article, we will look at which SEO benchmarks matter and why. 

Many people usually talk about key performance indicators (KPIs) and benchmarks interchangeably, which can be confusing, especially if you’re new to SEO. Although they do work together, they are not the same.

KPIs are industry statistics you can use to measure performance over time and give insights as to how effective your SEO campaign is. 

Benchmarks, however, are KPIs you set as your reference point when building your SEO strategy. 

For example, organic traffic is a KPI. But you can use last month’s organic traffic as a benchmark.

Why are SEO benchmarks important?

SEO benchmarks allow us to have a before and after picture for any particular KPI. This helps us to see how our SEO campaign is progressing and can help us to adjust our strategy if needed. 

Benchmarks also allow us to communicate the value of our work to clients. 

What SEO benchmarks are worth using?

There are many different KPIs you can measure. And like most things in SEO, which ones you should track will depend on the type of site you’re working on and their individual goals. 

However, there are several KPIs that are important for tracking the performance of all websites. 

Let’s take a look at which KPIs everyone should be benchmarking and why they are important. 

Traffic and user experience benchmarks

Driving users to your site is only part of the work. 

If a site user has a bad experience, they are likely to leave the site and never return. This is why we not only want to set traffic-related benchmarks but also user experience benchmarks too.

Organic search traffic

This metric shows how many users visit your site from unpaid listings on search engines like Google and Bing. You should be tracking traffic on a monthly basis. 

When setting benchmarks, generally speaking, it is advisable to use the last full month’s data and not set it any further back than this, as the goal should always be to outperform your closest benchmark. 

However, if seasonality is a factor in your business, it’s advisable to use your best month in the peak season as your ongoing benchmark. 

For accuracy, when it comes to organic traffic from Google, it is advisable to check Google Search Console (GSC). 

There are a number of discrepancies between GSC and Google Analytics due to how they collect data. But when focusing on organic traffic from Google itself, GSC is considered more accurate

See also  The Only Guide You Need

Head over to Google Search Console and go to Performance > Search results.

"Performance" menu in Google Search Console

In the “Performance” report, you will see four metrics. The first metric, “clicks,” is the number of people who clicked through from the Google search results to your website. This is the number we are interested in. 

"Performance" report in Google Search Console

Below this, you can also see the number of clicks at page level.

"Pages" tab in Google Search Console

If you want to split organic traffic by search engine, you can do this with GA4. Go to Acquisition > Traffic acquisition.

Then you can go to “All Users” and choose “First user source / medium” from the “Audience name” drop-down menu. 

Google Analytics filters

Then you can select the organic search channels you want to include from the “Dimension values” drop-down menu. This can be all organic traffic from multiple search engines, or you can set individual benchmarks for each search engine, like Bing or Yahoo. 

Organic traffic filters in Google Analytics

With these filters applied, you will see your website’s organic traffic for the past month. If you would like to see it broken down at the page level, you can simply go to Engagement > Pages and screens. 

Engaged sessions

In GA4, “Bounce rate” has essentially been replaced by “Engaged sessions.” In order for a session to be engaged, it must last longer than 10 seconds, have multiple screen or page views, or result in a conversion. 

You can see the number of engaged sessions per user in Engagement > Overview.

Engaged sessions, via Google Analytics

Average engagement time

Average engagement time in GA4 is important because, generally speaking, we want users to stay on the site for a longer period of time. 

Low engagement time isn’t always a bad thing. It can simply mean the visitor got what they needed fast. If you’re working with a site that monetizes content like an affiliate site, you will want your visitor to click that affiliate link as soon as possible. So take this one with a grain of salt.

However, it can sometimes be an indicator of:

  • Low-quality content
  • Poor user experience

Overall average engagement time is listed on the “Report snapshot” in GA4.

Engagement time, via Google Analytics

But you can get a detailed breakdown in Engagement > Pages and screens.

Engagement time by page, via Google Analytics

Backlink profile benchmarks

Backlinks are links from another website to a page on your website. They help Google and other search engines understand your content and how authoritative your website is. 

The backlinks’ quality, quantity, relevance, authority, and anchor text are among the many ranking factors for Google. 

See also  The Top 5 SEO Software Suites For Agencies

Number of backlinks

You want the number of (quality) links to be growing at a consistent rate. You need backlinks both to rank and maintain your rankings. Benchmarking the number of backlinks your website has will help you to monitor growth as you go forward.

With the Backlinks report in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer, you can see the total number of links to your website. 

Backlinks report from Ahrefs' Site Explorer

You can also see the number of individual referring domains and how they are growing month over month (and compare that against competitors on the same graph). 

Referring domains graph, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

This is an important thing to benchmark, as there is a strong positive correlation between the number of referring domains and increased organic traffic. 

Line graph showing strong correlation between search traffic and the number of referring domains

Domain Rating

Ahrefs’ Domain Rating (DR) is a measure of the strength of a website’s backlink profile. It shows how your website’s backlink profile compares to the others in the Ahrefs database on a 100-point scale.

The idea would be for your website’s DR to increase over time as an indication that the strength of your backlink profile is improving. 

Benchmarking DR is a pretty common practice, especially among those working with clients who may not fully comprehend SEO and, in particular, link building. It’s easier to relay that DR getting higher indicates improvement.

Ahrefs' DR metric

URL Rating

Although DR correlates with Google rankings pretty well, it doesn’t do this as well as Ahrefs’ URL Rating (UR). UR is a measure of an individual page’s backlink profile on a 100-point scale.

UR considers both internal and external links and “nofollow” attributes when calculating the UR score, following the same principles as Google’s PageRank. Therefore, benchmarking UR can help you understand how well an individual page can rank on the search engine results pages (SERPs).  

Ahrefs' UR metric

Keyword benchmarks

Keywords are the bread and butter of your SEO campaign. After all, you need to understand what relevant queries your potential audience is searching for in order to optimize your pages. 

Individual keyword positions

Your website could naturally rank for thousands of keywords on the SERPs. However, there should be some keywords you care about more than others—likely those that are most relevant to your products or services. 

Benchmarking individual keyword positions (where they rank in the search results) will allow you to track and set goals for important keywords. For example, if your website currently ranks in position #6 for “seo consultant,” you can use that as your benchmark to improve upon. 

While you can monitor keywords in Google Search Console, using a rank tracking tool like Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker will allow you to track the keywords you care about most and see how you stack up against competitors. You can even get email alerts about the progress of your tracked keywords.

See also  Google Launches AI-Powered Contextual Translations
Position history, via Ahrefs' Rank Tracker
Ranking history example in Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker.

Keyword profile value

Although benchmarking the keyword profile value may not be relevant for everyone, I find that for anyone working with clients, it can help them to relay the value of the work they’re doing. Keyword profile value can be seen in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer as “Traffic value.”

Organic traffic value is the equivalent monthly cost of traffic from all keywords that the target website/URL ranks for if paid via PPC instead of ranking organically. 

Ahrefs' traffic value

Keyword Difficulty

Ahrefs’ Keyword Difficulty (KD) is a metric that can help you determine how hard it would be to rank in the top 10 for a given keyword in a given country. 

It is calculated by taking a trimmed mean of the number of linking domains to the current top 10 ranking pages and then plotting the result on a logarithmic scale from 0 to 100. 

Keyword Difficulty of "seo consultant," via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

KD only takes into account linking domains, but there are many other variables you will need to rank highly, like great content. However, it is a good indicator. 

KD can be used as a benchmark for choosing keywords. For example, you may find that, currently, you can only rank for keywords that are considered “easy” or “medium” in terms of KD. Whereas your most important keywords may be considered “hard.” 

However, the level of KD you can achieve should improve over time. That’s why KD can be an important metric to benchmark and improve upon. 

Ahrefs' KD scale

Share of voice

Share of voice (SOV) takes rank tracking to another level. You can see SOV in the Overview report in Rank Tracker.

Share of voice, via Ahrefs' Rank Tracker

The SOV metric shows you the percentage of all possible organic clicks (from the SERPs) for the tracked keywords landing on your website. It basically shows you how visible your brand is on the SERPs.

There is a strong positive correlation between SOV and market share. So it is an important KPI to benchmark. 

Correlation between SOV and market share graph

By heading to the “Competitors” tab in Rank Tracker and entering the websites you consider your competition, you can compare your SOV to those sites. 

SOV competitors, via Ahrefs' Rank Tracker

Final thoughts  

Benchmarking important KPIs is one of the best ways to not only see where your website is currently at but also give you data you can improve upon. It allows you to set strategic goals and measure ongoing performance.

Got questions? Ping me on Twitter.

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading


YouTube Reverses Election Misinformation Policy



YouTube Reverses Election Misinformation Policy

In a significant policy shift, YouTube announced it wouldn’t remove content suggesting that fraud, errors, or glitches occurred in the 2020 US Presidential and other US elections.

The company confirmed this reversal of its election integrity policy on Friday.

In this article, we’re diving deep into YouTube’s decision. What led to this point?

It’s not just YouTube, though. We’re seeing this delicate dance all around the tech world. Platforms are trying to figure out how to let people express themselves without letting misinformation run wild.

Look at this balancing act and how it’s playing out.

A Shift Towards Free Speech?

YouTube first implemented its policy against election misinformation in December 2020, once several states certified the 2020 election results.

The policy aimed to prevent the spread of misinformation that could incite violence or cause real-world harm.

However, the company is concerned that maintaining this policy may have the unintended effect of stifling political speech.

Reflecting on the impact of the policy over the past two years, which led to tens of thousands of video removals, YouTube states:

“Two years, tens of thousands of video removals, and one election cycle later, we recognized it was time to reevaluate the effects of this policy in today’s changed landscape. With that in mind, and with 2024 campaigns well underway, we will stop removing content that advances false claims that widespread fraud, errors, or glitches occurred in the 2020 and other past US Presidential elections.”

In the coming months, YouTube promises more details about its approach to the 2024 election.

See also  WordPress Anti-Spam Plugin Vulnerability Affects Up To 60,000+ Sites

Other Misinformation Policies Unchanged

While this change shifts YouTube’s approach to election-related content, it doesn’t impact other misinformation policies.

YouTube clarifies:

“The rest of our election misinformation policies remain in place, including those that disallow content aiming to mislead voters about the time, place, means, or eligibility requirements for voting; false claims that could materially discourage voting, including those disputing the validity of voting by mail; and content that encourages others to interfere with democratic processes.”

The Greater Context: Balancing Free Speech and Misinformation

This decision occurs in a broader context where media companies and tech platforms are wrestling with the balance between curbing misinformation and upholding freedom of speech.

With that in mind, there are several implications for advertisers and content creators.

Implications For Advertisers

  • Brand Safety Concerns: Advertisers may be concerned about their ads appearing alongside content that spreads election misinformation.
  • Increased Scrutiny: With this change, advertisers may have to scrutinize more closely where their ads are being placed.
  • Potential for Boycotts: If certain brands’ advertisements are repeatedly seen on videos spreading election misinformation, it could lead to consumer boycotts.

Implications For Content Creators

  • Monetization Opportunities: This could open up new monetization opportunities for content creators who focus on political content, particularly those previously penalized under the old policy.
  • Increased Viewership: If their content is no longer being removed, specific creators might see an increase in viewership, leading to higher ad revenue and more engagement.
  • Potential Backlash: On the flip side, content creators could face backlash from viewers who disagree with the misinformation or those who feel the platform should be taking a stronger stand against such content.
See also  The Only Guide You Need

It’s important to note these are potential implications and may not be realized universally across the platform.

The impact will likely vary based on specific content, audience demographics, advertiser preferences, and other factors.

In Summary

YouTube’s decision showcases the ongoing struggle to balance freedom of speech and prevent misinformation.

If you’re an advertiser on the platform, remember to be vigilant about where your ads are placed.

For content creators, this change could be a double-edged sword. While it may bring more ad revenue to YouTube, there’s a risk of viewers perceiving the ads as spreading misinformation.

As participants in the digital world, we should all strive for critical thinking and fact-checking when consuming content. The responsibility to curb misinformation doesn’t rest solely with tech platforms – it’s a collective task we all share.

Source: YouTube

Featured image generated by the author using Midjourney. 

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading


New Ecommerce Exploit Affects WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento



New Ecommerce Exploit Affects WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento

A serious hacking attack has been exploiting ecommerce websites to steal credit card information from users and to spread the attack to other websites.

These hacking attacks are called Magecart style skimmer and it’s spreading worldwide across multiple ecommerce platforms.

Attackers are targeting a variety of ecommerce platforms:

  • Magento
  • Shopify
  • WooCommerce
  • WordPress

What Does the Attack Do?

The attackers have two goals when infecting a website:

1. Use the site to spread itself to other sites

2. Steal personal information like credit card data from customers of the infected website.

Identifying a vulnerability is difficult because the code dropped on a website is encoded and sometimes masked as a Google Tag or a Facebook Pixel code.

Screenshot by Akamai

What the code does however is target input forms for credit card information.

It also serves as an intermediary to carry out attacks on behalf of the attacker, thus covering up the true source of the attacks.

Magecart Style Skimmer

A Magecart attack is an attack that enters through an existing vulnerability on the ecommerce platform itself.

On WordPress and WooCommerce it could be a vulnerability in a theme or plugin.

On Shopify it could an existing vulnerability in that platform.

In all cases, the attackers are taking advantage of vulnerabilities that are present in the platform the ecommerce sites are using.

See also  What the Big Tech Layoffs Mean for SMBs & PPC: 8 Key Takeaways

This is not a case where there is one single vulnerability that can be conveniently fixed. It’s a wide range of them.

The report by Akamai states:

“Before the campaign can start in earnest, the attackers will seek vulnerable websites to act as “hosts” for the malicious code that is used later on to create the web skimming attack.

…Although it is unclear how these sites are being breached, based on our recent research from similar, previous campaigns, the attackers will usually look for vulnerabilities in the targeted websites’ digital commerce platform (such as Magento, WooCommerce, WordPress, Shopify, etc.) or in vulnerable third-party services used by the website.”

Recommended Action

Akamai recommends that all Ecommerce users secure their websites. That means making sure all third party apps and plugins are updated and that the platform is the very latest version.

They also recommend using a Web Application Firewall (WAF), which detects and prevents intrusions when hackers are probing a site in search of a vulenerable website.

Users of platforms like WordPress have multiple security solutions, with popular and trusted ones being Sucuri Security (website hardening) and WordFence (WAF).

Akamai recommends:

“…the complexity, deployment, agility, and distribution of current web application environments — and the various methods attackers can use to install web skimmers — require more dedicated security solutions, which can provide visibility into the behavior of scripts running within the browser and offer defense against client-side attacks.

An appropriate solution must move closer to where the actual attack on the clients occurs. It should be able to successfully identify the attempted reads from sensitive input fields and the exfiltration of data (in our testing we employed Akamai Page Integrity Manager).

We recommend that these events are properly collected in order to facilitate fast and effective mitigation.”

Read the original report for more details:

See also  4 Easy Ways to Video Call on Android to iPhone: Quick Guide

New Magecart-Style Campaign Abusing Legitimate Websites to Attack Others

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading