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A well designed logo is critical in building your brand identity. Because every brand is different, and your logo needs to be unique. For that reason, the first task for a logo designer is gathering some basic information about the business, services and/or product the logo will represent.


Create listings on review sites like Yelp, and ask clients to review your services.

One peek at recent search results should tell you why:

Reviews are important for SEO

Google gives Yelp many, many listings in competitive, money searches in the natural results. Sometimes all 10. Most of the time these listings are stacked at the top, from #1 down. If your business is unfortunate enough to have your main target search terms in SERPs that look like this, you either have to play ball with these Yelp bandits, or look for another source for leads.

Google reviews are also very important in standing out and getting leads, just in case the searcher scrolls down past the Yelp listings to the map pack. You need to be in that pack and have a decent number of positive reviews, at least roughly equivalent to the competition in your target SERP. Reviews will help position in the map pack, as well as click-through to your listings.

It is also a good idea to get reviewed on other third party review sites, because Google does use these in its algorithm, not only to gauge popularity, but also to determine theme, which needs to be consistent with your keywords for the strongest ranking signal.

Google Plus Local Listing Rollover
External third party sites where your business might be reviewed are displayed in the "More Reviews" section when a user rolls over your map pack listing.

You, and your potential clients can also see the keywords Google has associated your business. It grabs these terms from third party review sites, your own website, and any place your business is mentioned on the web. These keywords may not always be relevant or helpful, and can sometimes be confusing or outright wrong. That's why it pays to pay attention to your businesses web mentions, and be proactive in providing Google a strong, clean signal about your business. If Google doesn't have a lot of information, it can do some stupid, confusing and counterproductive things. Whether it makes any sense or not, whatever Google's algo comes up with will be displayed on your listing in the "People talk about" section.

Google Local. People talk about.

And on Google Maps:

Google Maps Business Listing

 

 This is Tip #8 in a series of 10 SEO Tips for Small Business.

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Internet Directories

Create listings  on third-party internet directories such as Yellow Pages, Superpages and City Search, and ask clients to review your services on those listings. 

Google scours the web for information about your business, compiles it, and uses it to decide what your business is all about. It doesn't even need links to your website anymore. It can also display some of this aggregated information directly on your listing.

You can make sure Google is correct in its decision regarding what your business is about by giving it a clean signal and many "citations."

A clean signal means consistent use of NAP (business name, address and phone number) as well as keywords referring to your business, both in the external listings you create, and your website.

The listings you create in directories like Yellowpages or Superpages are called "structured citations." "Unstructured citations" are also aggregated and used by Google. This would be mentions of your business on a blog, or on a news site that doesn't necessarily have a link to your website or complete contact information. You can't always control the content of unstructured citations, but consistent use of NAP and keywords in what you do have control of, can cut down the variation of terms used by those researching your business.

Reviews on third-party sites are increasingly important to not only your ranking in Google map packs, but also the conversion rate or those listings, because they can be displayed directly on your Google Local Business Listing.

* Bonus Tip: Don't stop! Create listings on directories on an ongoing basis. Use your competitive intelligence (Tip 5) to find new directories to add your listing to.

This is Tip #7 in a series of 10 SEO Tips for Small Business.

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google local business listingCreate local listings on search engines like Google and Bing, and ask clients to review your services on your listing.

Google

Google business listings have a messy and confusing history. These listings used to be created and managed on a platform called Google Places. They are being transitioned to a Google Plus, however you can still manage them and create new listings on Google Places. I'd recommend just managing and creating local business listings from Google Plus, and forgetting about Google Places, because it will be going away.
Here's a video to show you how to set up a Google Plus Local Business listing.

You'll need to verify your listing by either phone or with code send via post card to your business address. In my experience the verify by phone feature is seldom available lately.

Bing

I guess because Google is abandoning the "Places" name for its local business listings, it's OK for Microsoft to use it. So Bing local business listings are now called Bing Places. Sign up is relatively easy. Like with your Google listing, your Bing listing will need to be verified by phone or postal address. Bing has a lot less traffic, so this listing is less important, but is a good way to get some traffic for those just starting out.

This is Tip #6 in a series of 10 SEO Tips for Small Business.

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MOZ Open Site Explorer

Using the "compare pages" feature of Moz's Open Site Explorer (OSE), you'll get an immediate snapshot of what you need to do in order to outrank the competition. 

Enter your competitor's website's URL into the main URL box, and check the "Inbound Links"tab. Set the dropdown filters to show results for link equity, only external, and pages on this root domain. This will give you a list of the links that contribute to your competitor's link authority and rank in searches.

You will need to create a free account to be able to export the data to a CSV file. 

You will need a Pro account to see competitive social networking data, but for SEO that isn't really relevant, as social networking in itself won't affect search engine ranking, aside from personalized results when logged into your Google account.

There are many other tools that will help you analyze the competition's SEO program, but if you could only use one, this would be it!

This is Tip #5 in a series of 10 SEO Tips for Small Business.

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Google Webmaster ToolsBy signing up for Google Webmaster Tools, you'll get data on page indexing, crawling, errors, as well as what queries your site is showing up for, along with approximate position, number of impressions and click-through rate. By linking your Google Webmaster Tools account to your Google Analytics account, you can also make this query data available in Google Analytics.

This is Tip #4 in a series of 10 SEO Tips for Small Business.

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SEO Traffic ToolsSet up tools that will allow you to track visitors and measure progress. There are a lot of tools available to record and report on your traffic. Most small businesses choose Google Analytics. It is powerful, free and will immediately let you know where your visitors are coming from, and what they are doing on your website.

Once reporting has been set up, review it in detail for any areas where your SEO program is working, as well as areas where it is missing the mark. Once you get a feel for the data, check back regularly to review progress, or look for changes in performance. Set up email alerts on key metrics, so you'll know right away when something goes terribly wrong. Don't neglect setting up goals and conversions. Optimizing for conversion is probably the highest ROI activity you do for your website.

This is Tip #3 in a series of 10 SEO Tips for Small Business.

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SEO Search Terms

It won't do you any good to be number one in Google for a search term if only 3 people a month are entering it into the Google search box. In your keyword analysis, choose search terms for your SEO targeting that will bring in significant traffic with conversion potiential.

One way to estimate traffic is to create a Google Adwords account (get $100 Adwords credit when you spend $25 here) and use their tools to get estimated traffic reports for your intended search terms. You can also run a limited Adwords campaign and get very detailed information on traffic for your search terms, including geographic and demographic data. Adwords tools will also suggest related search terms to consider, along with their traffic value. 

As mentioned in SEO Tip #1, choose keyword searches you can compete in. I doesn't matter how much traffic a search term gets if you are on Page 10. SEO Tip #5 will cover analyzing the competition.

This is Tip #2 in a series of 10 SEO Tips for Small Business.

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Local SEO TipA small business generally won't have the resources to compete on a national level for generic search terms ( AKA keywords). This means your site should be optimized with geo-targeted terms, like your city, or county.

Start your keyword research by identifying the geographic terms that will bring in the most, high quality leads for your business. You should plan to dominate the city in which you are located. You can also target 1 or 2 additional geo-terms on your main pages, or create multiple pages specifically targeted to their own geo-term. Just make sure you offer value in those local pages, and don't duplicate content.

This is Tip #1 in a series of 10 SEO Tips for Small Business. 


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