Google and the other search engines love blogs. Blogs give the engines lots of fresh content which get indexed much faster than webpages. But the trick is you need to keep your blog postings keyword rich and written on a consistent basis.
When you post a blog entry it is extremely important to choose a keyword that your want your blog post to get ranked for and then include that keyword in your title. Also, try to use that keyword in the first sentence of the posts and within the first 25 words. The closer to the start of the posting the better. Use the keyword in the blog post a number of times, but don’t exceed more than a 4% keyword density. Definitely don’t keyword stuff and only use it in a natural manner.
Use your keyword as anchor text for a link 3 to 4 times within the blog post and make sure you bold the link. Use the keyword in the URL of that post. For example, http://domain.com/keyword. You can easily do this in many blogging software applications such as WordPress and Blogger.
Note, when using Blogger, you cannot change your URL once you have published the post. Blogger chooses the first few sentences from the title of the post to include in the URL. To confirm getting your keyword into your URL, publish your post with only the keyword in your title. Afterwards you can always go back and change the title again, but make sure it still contains that keyword.
Remember, even though blog posts have great potential for search traffic, it doesn’t happen overnight. Constant attention to creating quality posts is key.
If you didn’t already notice, Bing is breaking new ground when it has come to online mapping. In 56 metro areas Bing Maps is introducing “Street Side”. This new technology features immersive street-level photography and allows users to “walk down the street” and explore neighborhoods and cities. Unlike other online mapping services Bing “Street Side” is extremely “rich”, bringing online mapping into a new reality. Microsoft is also utilizing its 3D mapping assets, Photosynth and Silverlight in creating this new experience. Here is how the Microsoft press release describes the technology behind the new map experience:
Photosynth and Silverlight are the underlying technologies in Bing Maps that connect everything and help provide the more seamless experience. Based on Seadragon and Photo Tourism concepts, Photosynth lets us literally “stitch” together photographs to provide a more realistic view of locations as they appear in real life. Photosynth-enabled Streetside imagery is built on geometric models that are reconstructed underneath the imagery to provide a truly 3D experience that shows locations as they are in real life.
The one “catch” is that you need to install Microsoft Silverlight to make it all work. (It only takes a few seconds to download) But once installed at the Bing Maps beta site you are now enabled into a wide range of experiences including search and discovery tools such as planning and sharing multistep itineraries, navigating streets at eye level and experience beautiful photographic scenes.
Additionally this new “apps gallery“ enables data overlays directly onto the map. Currently all of the apps are Microsoft created but in the near future third parties will be able to integrate such as Yelp reviews and Twitter postings, along with a mobile device version.
The map that you occasionally see at the top of Google’s organic search results is the Local Business Listings. These listings tend to show up on service-orientated searches where regional modifiers are used as part of the keyterm, ie; Boca Raton Dentists.
The prime positioning of the listings on Google’s results page means that if you’re focusing on a particular location for sales, then Local Business Listings should be prioritized in your wider SEO endeavors.
Google’s Local Business Listings are technically separate from organic SEO, yet rely largely on the same basic rules for success – the main one being the use of good and relevant content. Listings are created through Google Accounts, with the option to add a brief description and the all-important location which is highlighted on the results map. It’s quick to set up, and depending on the type of company you’re running, the benefits can be considerable.
Following the basic principles of SEO good practice is the best way to get a strong listing;
– Create a clear title, with a single main keyterm included.
– Write the description for real-world users, in a no-nonsense copy style. Keyword stuffing, as always, results in unreadable copy.
– Focus on your main service – this offers a clearer message to both users and Google.
– Don’t forget to add the business URL – an obvious point maybe, but this isn’t a mandatory field on the set-up form, so it can be easily missed.
– If anything notable changes with your business – new services, services phased out, location changes etc – update your listing. It should always be up-to-date.
– Remember Google’s primary aim – to provide the user with the information they’re searching for – if your listing isn’t as helpful and useful as it could be, modify it.
While it ranks on its own merits in relation to competition, the performance of a Local Business Listing is assisted by the quality of the associated business website. If that website is doing everything it should with an ongoing SEO program, then the business listing will benefit accordingly.
Like organic SEO, you’ve got the top ten to aim for, as these are the results that will appear on the all-important first page. However, again like organic SEO, the competition can often run into the thousands depending on the keyterm and location in question. Approach the Local Business Listings like any SEO project – remember there’s no quick fix or silver bullet, stick to the known principles and the results will follow.