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7 Top Ways To Gain Visibility

Online search is more often than not the starting point in a local consumer’s quest for products and services nearby.

In fact, 78% use the Internet to find information about local businesses in their area more than once a week – and 21% are searching locally every day, according to BrightLocal’s most recent local consumer survey.

You must be visible in local organic and Map Pack search results if you want to get found. Then you have a chance to convert those searchers to in-store traffic, booked appointments, or some other type of paying customer.

In this column, you’ll find 7 of the most impactful ways you can build local visibility using SEO.

1. Check For Technical Errors That Could Impact Indexing

This is baseline SEO. You can’t get found if search engines can’t index your site.

First, learn the basics about how search engines crawl and index your website. This foundational knowledge will help guide your SEO efforts going forward.

You may very well decide that technical SEO issues such as indexation are too complex for you to manage on top of running your business.

If that’s the case, at least you’ll understand what you’re hiring an SEO agency or consultant to do for you.

On the other hand, you might feel confident looking into indexation issues yourself and in that case, these resources can help:

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2. Create Exceptional Content

Content is the vehicle by which all messaging, offers, and calls to action will be delivered to your audience.

But your small business isn’t just competing against other businesses like yours in the search results.

You’re also up against media publications, informational websites, big brands, local review sites, and all kinds of other sources that create content relevant to your products and services.

The bar is high, and that means your content must be exceptional to stand out.

Before you jump in with both feet and start cranking out blog posts, take the time to create a local content strategy that aligns with your business goals.

Make sure you incorporate different types of local content, and optimize each piece for search using these proven on-page local SEO best practices.

3. Incorporate Local Link Building Into Your SEO Strategy

Links are the currency of the web. They’re an important trust signal to search engines like Google and suggest that others endorse your content.

John McAlpin explains, “Local links are done with the intention to show that others with relevance to the local area trust or endorse your business.”

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His piece ‘What Is A Local Link & How To Find More Local Link Opportunities‘, part of our Local SEO Guide, is a great starting point for your local link building strategy.

From there, I highly recommend you read this column from Kevin Rowe, in which he shares 50 types of links and what you need to do to attract each one.

4. Get Your Google Business Profile In Order

No local search strategy is complete without a well-optimized Google Business Profile (GBP).

While Google draws local business information from a wide variety of sites, directories, and networks around the web, it does look to its own profiles as a single source of truth about any local business.

Previously known as the Google My Business program, these profiles have grown richer and more interactive in recent years. And with these updates, they’ve become more useful for local searchers, too.

Today, GBPs not only provide key business information such as your location and contact information but also enable you to:

  • Help searchers understand the experience they’ll have at your business with a variety of high-quality photos and videos.
  • Showcase offers, events, and more with Google Posts.
  • Interact with customers via Messaging, Q&A, and responding to reviews.
  • Proactively share differentiating features, health and safety information, payment methods, and more with Attributes.

Sherry Bonelli offers a great guide to GBP optimization här.

5. Ensure Local Listings Are Accurate

Google values searcher experience above all else. Inaccurate, outdated information that negatively impacts searcher experience is, therefore, a liability and can hinder your local visibility in a big way.

Wherever a searcher encounters your business listing online – whether on social, in a local directory, in Yellow Pages, on review sites such as Yelp or Trip Advisor – the information they find there should enable them to seamlessly convert.

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Having the wrong phone number, address, hours of operation, or other key business information listed can result in a searcher showing up at a closed store, for example.

Or being sent by their GPS system to your former location.

Seeing various versions of key business data around the web makes it difficult for search engines to know what’s true.

Given that Google wants to give each searcher the best possible answer to their query, you do not want the algorithm questioning whether your business information is trustworthy.

Tracking listings manually is time-consuming and incredibly difficult, as data aggregators and directories may be scanning for business information and updating their listings.

This is how misinformation or outdated listings proliferate, and the wrong address, URL, or hours can spread far and wide.

Small businesses can use a local SEO tool like Moz Local eller Semrush to automate the process of scanning for business listings and monitoring their accuracy.

6. Monitor & Respond To Local Reviews

Reviews are a highly impactful part of the local search experience and in 2021, 77% of local consumers said they always or regularly read reviews when searching for local businesses.

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Google’s local ranking algorithms are less a mystery than their organic counterparts. Google openly tells us there are three main local ranking factors: Relevance, Distance, and Prominence.

Reviews are part of the Prominence factor, and Google states:

“Google review count and review score factor into local search ranking. More reviews and positive ratings can improve your business’ local ranking.”

Jeff Riddall offers a comprehensive overview of how Google reviews impact organic and local search rankings här.

Check out Matt Southern’s ‘Where & How To Get The Right Reviews For Your Business‘ to learn more.

7. Use Relevant Local Schema

Medan not a ranking factor, schema markup is a type of structured data that makes the web crawlers’ job easier and helps the search engine better understand the content of your page.

Anything you can do to help Google more effectively match your page to a relevant query is a win.

Schema markup can help trigger rich results that highlight additional information such as breadcrumbs, reviews, FAQs, and sitelinks on search results.

Applying schema properly, then testing and validating your markup, is essential as errors can disqualify you from obtaining those rich results.

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Chelsea Alves wrote a fantastic guide to local markup and rich results that can serve as your starting point for adding this tactic to your local SEO strategy.

Bringing It All Together

Taking on local SEO as a small business can seem daunting. You may not have a dedicated marketing department, and it’s not uncommon for business owners to feel overwhelmed by the administrative and marketing tasks that come with being an entrepreneur.

I hope this guide gives you enough information and resources to determine what you can tackle in-house and what you may need to outsource.

Using an agency or consultant to augment your in-house skills is just fine – but it’s essential that you have a healthy understanding of what you’re asking these professionals to do for you.

Remember, local SEO is not a one-time, ‘set it and forget it’ activity to check off the list.

It’s an integral part of your marketing, and often intersects with customer service, as well.

To learn more, download Search Engine Journal’s ebook ‘Local SEO: The Definitive Guide to Improve Your Local Search Rankings.’


Featured image: Shutterstock/Deemka Studio

Annons

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Step-By-Step Guide To Earning Your Google Ads Certification

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Step-By-Step Guide To Earning Your Google Ads Certification

In a world where many people offer services like SEO och Google Ads management, it is important to stand out and be as educated as possible.

Seasoned veterans and new professionals alike can both benefit from Google Ads Certification.

As an industry standard with content tied directly to the Google Ads platform, it is the most trusted credential and source for training in the industry.

What Is Google Ads Certification?

Google Ads certification is a process by which Google recognizes marketers as experts in online reklam-.

After passing Ads certification exams, individuals get a personalized certificate and – if affiliated with a company – can contribute to the company’s Google Partner credentials.

Like many Google products, properties, and initiatives, the program has evolved over the years.

The certification program was standalone and had a cost attached to taking exams.

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That changed with the creation of the Google Partners program and has further evolved with the migration to the Google Academy for Ads in 2018 and, more recently, a rebrand to Skillshop.

Individual certification still works the same way it has for the past several years with training content and exams.

Over the years, the certification has become a minimum or expected requirement for entry-level search marketing roles for agencies and corporations.

Even when I hire someone who will go through our training program, I know that they are willing to invest time and see the importance of taking the step of getting certified is crucial.

Having that base level of subject matter exposure from Google is much more specific than what a school textbook can provide on how Google Ads works.

On top of that, there’s value in being able to affiliate with an individual who is already certified with my agency’s Google Partner account.

This step-by-step guide provides a walkthrough of how to get Ads certified, as it can be a confusing process when doing it for the first time or when coming back only annually or occasionally for recertification.

Step 1: Get Started In Skillshop

Navigate to the Google Ads Certification platform within Skillshop.

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In the top right corner, click “Log In.”

Now, we’re at a critical step right away. We want to ensure that the account you get certified through is the specific one you want to be certified.

If you work for an agency or a company, you’re likely to be required to use your work email address.

Regardless of agency, corporate, or whatever status, you likely want to link your certification to the address you manage Google Ads to keep things simple and clean.

If you haven’t managed Google Ads yet and don’t have an account, you can easily create a new account här to get started.

If you’re a returning user, be careful to find your Skillshop profile and ensure your Google account is still properly linked, so you don’t accidentally take exams in a new account versus recertifying your current account.

The account management piece can be confusing and frustrating as there are separate profiles yet linked accounts between this system and Google’s accounts and Ad management systems.

If you’re interested in your certification counting toward a Google Partners badge, be sure to use your company email address that you use for managing ads for your Google Partner company to link things properly.

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If you’re interested, I encourage you to learn more about the Google Partners program details, requirements, and logistics for getting set up.

Step 2: Select Your Exam

If needed, navigate back through Skillshop to the Google Ads Certifications again to arrive at the page with the list of exam topics.

Screenshot from skillshop.exceedlms.com, July 2022

Here you can find the specific certification you want to start with and click on it.

Within the specific certification, read the overview info.

When you’re ready to dive in, click the Get Started button.

Step 3: Prepare For Exams

Google provides both basic educational info and more extensive training content.

The specific Google Ads certifications include:

  • Sök.
  • Display.
  • Measurement.
  • Video.
  • Shopping Ads.
  • Apps.
  • Ads Creative.

If you’re brand new to Ads and the certification exams, I recommend starting with the Google Ads Search Certification first.

Search ads are typically the most common type of ads a company will run.

But if you are more focused on something like just shopping, then start there.

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Google Ads Search CertificationScreenshot from skillshop.exceedlms.com, July 2022

Training content is tied to each of these specific certifications.

When you click on any of them, you’ll be presented with options to get started, including a quick knowledge assessment and other resources.

You’ll need to plan on investing at least a few hours to go through the training content specialization.

If you’ve been managing Ads campaigns or have deeper exposure, it’s still a good idea to go through the modules – even if you do it faster.

The sample questions are quite helpful; they are written in the same format as they appear on the actual exams.

Unless you have previously been certified and/or have a moderate level of Ads experience, don’t skip the training content!

Step 4: Pass The Assessment

To become certified, you are required to pass the assessment in any of the respective certification specialties.

Your certification will then be awarded for that specific product focus area.

You can stop with one specialization or continue by going through additional specializations until you have mastered and achieved all of those relevant to your desired credentials.

Annons

If you’re an overachiever or love standardized tests, there’s nothing that says you can’t take them all.

Note that if you fail to pass an exam, there’s a waiting period before you can retry. That’s the only real penalty for not passing.

When you have passed one or more assessments, I recommend downloading the digital certificate(s) and saving those, so you have proof of your certification.

Additionally, you can create a public profile page that showcases your mastery.

You can turn the public profile on (if you haven’t already) by clicking in the top right corner of the page and then on “My Account.” You’ll find a toggle switch for “Public” to turn on if you choose by following the prompts.

Slutsats

Google Ads Certification provides a base-level credential for new professionals managing ads.

It also provides an ongoing opportunity for industry veterans to maintain their status and show longevity by keeping certified and staying on top of the platform and best practices changes over time.

Whether seeking your first job in the industry out of school or leveraging the certification for a Google Partners designation, I recommend the program for learning and maintaining education and standard credentials.

Annons

There are other excellent training and education programs available from third parties.

However, the Google Ads Certification still holds weight in the industry and is a common expectation for paid search practitioners to have.

Fler resurser:


Utvald bild: Krakenimages.com/Shutterstock

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